Schalmont's Nick Gallo tackles Peru's Jeff Kurz during the Nov. 12 Class B regional game at AuSable Valley High School.
Photo by Keith Lobdell.
continued In the opening half, the Sabres scored on a 10-yard option run by quarterback Nico Nicoletti following a first play interception by Devon Willis. Nicoletti then scored on a 44-yard run following interceptions by Gallo and Alex Hildebrand, who caught the third touchdown on a 25-yard pass from Nicoletti to give the Sabres a 19-0 halftime lead after Nicoletti ended the half with an interception.
Kyle Strube scored on a four-yard run to give the Sabres a 25-0 lead halfway into the third quarter before the Indians got their first possession of the half and started to go to work.
On the ensuing drive, Peru quarterback Taylor Rock found Mike Holdridge for a 42-yard scoring play, putting the Indians on the board. After a Hunter Bruno fumble recovery, Rock scored on a one-yard sneak play to cut the lead to 25-12 as the third quarter ended.
In the fourth quarter, Holdridge intercepted Nicoletti, leading to a Peru drive that lasted 19 plays and took 5:07 off the clock, with Jeff Kurz scoring from two yards out. The Indians added a two-point conversion to narrow the gap to 25-20.
The Sabres were forced to just three plays on their next drive, punting the ball back to the Indians with 55 seconds left and setting up the final plays of the game, ending with the Gallo game-saving hit.
“Our seniors did not want to give in,” Peru head coach Nick Damiani said. “They were the ones that got the belief back into the program. They had a great second half because they knew that they had to lay it all on the line or the season was over.”
Damiani said he was pleased with the way the team responded to the turnover issues in the first quarter of the game.
“After the opening two possessions and then the first drive of the third quarter, they really didn’t do anything besides that,” he said. “You just can’t give a good team opportunities like we gave them.”