WESTBROOK – Collin Joyce of Westbrook took the handoff and ran right. Not finding room, he reversed field and ran around the defense for 15 yards to the York 2.
The Blue Blazes scored two plays later with 10 seconds remaining to complete an amazing comeback and beat York 20-14 in a Western Class B football opener Saturday at Olmsted Field.
Westbrook scored two touchdowns in the final 5:14 to shock the Wildcats, who led much of the game.
Joyce scored two touchdowns and gained 203 yards on 24 carries.
“I was running one way and the York defense was running the other,” said Joyce on changing direction. “That was a good sight.
“We never give up. For most of the line this was their first varsity game. They did a great job.”
With the ball on the 2 and time running out, fullback Zack Hutchins got a yard on first down. Westbrook then called a timeout to stop the clock. Hutchins ran straight ahead on the next play, crossing the goal line to break a 14-14 tie. The 2-point conversion pass failed.
York got the ball back with 5.2 seconds. Ross Hogan’s desperation pass was intercepted by Noah Collins.
For most of the game, Westbrook looked like it would fall short against the Wildcats, who have most of their team back from last year’s regional finalists.
Twice in the first half, Westbrook drove to the 5 but failed to score, getting pushed back both times when the Wildcats dropped the Blazes for big losses. Negative yardage was a problem for Westbrook in the first half.
York took a 7-0 lead on its second series when Ryan Miller scored on a 2-yard run. It stayed that way until the start of the second half, when Westbrook went 70 yards in 12 plays after the kickoff. Joyce scored from the 10, but was dropped in the backfield on the 2-point conversion rush.
The Wildcats took a 14-6 lead late in the third quarter when Sean Kelly finished off a 72-yard drive with a 4-yard run. Trevor LaBonte kicked his second straight point after.
The Blazes controlled the final quarter. Joyce scored the tying touchdown on second-and-13 from the 14. Westbrook tied it on Maurice Johnson’s conversion rush.
York was going to go for a first down on fourth-and- inches from midfield late in the game, but a motion penalty pushed the Wildcats back 5 yards and they decided to punt.
The Blazes took over on their 41 and moved down the field on the running of Joyce, Johnson and Hutchins.
Westbrook’s double handoff counter play chewed up huge chunks of yardage the entire game.
“I was happy with the way the kids responded,” said Westbrook Coach Jeff Guerette. “Our kids stuck with it. We talk about perseverance in school and the players certainly showed it. They fought back. It was a great team effort. We’re excited about the win. Hopefully we can build on it.”
York had control until the last six minutes.
“We couldn’t finish,” said York Coach Randy Small. “We got penalties at the wrong time, but take nothing away from Westbrook, they deserved to beat us.
“It’s one of eight (games). We’ll watch the game film, get better and move on.”
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: