In a game with Open Division playoff rankings on the line, the Horizon Huskies handed the Notre Dame Prep Saints their first-ever loss on Bemis Field in a thrilling 35-34 double-overtime win.
It was a game that seemed to have several momentum shifts, especially in the second half of the game. But Horizon was ultimately able to grind out the win.
“We all wanted this win really, really bad. We’ve been talking about this game since last November. We wanted to win this one because we knew they had that unbeaten streak,” Horizon quarterback Jake Martinelli said. “It was just a dream come true.”
Horizon was able to move the ball down the field in the first half, but struggled to get it into the end zone. Going into the half, the Saints held on to a slight 7-6 lead over Horizon. For Notre Dame Prep, running back Dominick Mastro had a couple of explosive plays to put a touchdown on the board for the Saints, while Horizon had to settle for two field goals.
“We had to come back, fight through adversity. We had some things not go our way. Some calls we didn’t like, but we just had to persevere,” Martinelli said.
Horizon was able to score a touchdown on its first drive of the third quarter when Martinelli was able to connect with Avery Lambert for a 27-yard touchdown pass. The Huskies decided to go for two and were able to convert, when Martinelli found Austin Alosi to extend the lead to 14-7.
Following that drive, the Saints fumbled on the kickoff return, allowing the Huskies to recover the ball on their own 20-yard line. From there, they were able to reach the end zone once again, this time with Bryan Bogardus taking it in to score. Halfway through the 3rd, they found themselves with a 21-7 lead, but that didn’t last long.
On a reverse play, Saints quarterback Derek Elsholz tossed the ball to Damien Owens, who then threw to Connor Butt for a 20-yard touchdown, bringing the game within 7. In the fourth quarter, JD Roberts had the game-tying touchdown run, making it 21-21 and forcing overtime.
In the first overtime, both teams were able to score, bringing the score to 28 for each. However, it was in the second overtime where things got interesting. After Notre Dame Prep reached the end zone, Horizon’s Elijah Mursalat blocked the kick. The Huskies knew the outcome of the game depended on the next four plays, and they were able to come up big.
After forcing a third and out, Martinelli found Bogardus in the end zone to tie the game on a huge fourth down play. All Horizon had to do was make the extra point, putting the pressure on kicker Grady Gross. But Gross handled it like a pro, easily sending the ball through the uprights and sending the Huskies soaring on to a huge victory.
“The first thing on my mind was ‘We’ve got to score. We’ve got to score, we’ve got to score, we’ve got to score.’ And then after the first three plays, we didn’t move the ball,” Martinelli said. “Then we called the right play, I knew it was going to be open, I threw it to Avery, on his birthday, we got to kick it through. Yeah, it was a great game.”
“We knew it was going to be a fourth quarter ball game, but we didn’t necessarily know it was going to come down to the last play,” Wisdom said. “I’m just happy for them and their success. We wanted a seat at the table. And now, they’ve put themselves in a position to have a seat at the table.”
Both teams were able to generate more than 300 yards on offense in the game. Martinelli completed 11 of his 21 passes for 135 yards, while Elsholz was able to complete 10 of 16 passes for 84 yards. Notre Dame Prep did gain more yards on the ground with 260, compared to Horizon’s 194.
Next week, Horizon (6-0, 3-0) will host Cactus Shadows (4-3, 2-1) for its senior night, while Notre Dame Prep (7-1, 3-1) will host North Canyon (1-7, 0-4).
HORIZON 6 0 15 0 7 7 -- 35
NDP 7 0 7 7 7 6 -- 34
HORIZON – Gross 24-yard field goal, 7:31
NDP – Mastro 2 run (Chewning kick), 6:05
HORIZON – Gross 24 Field Goal, 3:14
HORIZON – Martinelli 27 pass to Lambert ( Marintelli to Alosi for 2 POINT CONVERSION) 8:16
HORIZON – Bogardus 1-yard TD run (Gross kick), 5:33
NDP – Owens 20 pass to Connor Butt (Chewning kick), 3:17
NDP – Roberts 1 run (Chewning kick), 3:11
HORIZON – Martinelli 2 run (Gross kick)
NDP – Mastro 3 run (Chewning kick)
NDP – Roberts 3 run
HORIZON – Martinelli 10 pass to Bogardus (Gross kick)