December 6, 2013

Class A football: Bonny Eagle scores late TD, wins state title

Zach Dubiel scores on a 6-yard run with 22.8 seconds left as the Scots beat Cheverus, 31-28.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Two storied high school football programs, one memorable game.

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The goal from the start was to win the Class A football championship, and Bonny Eagle reached that goal Saturday, using a final drive to rally past Cheverus for a 31-28 victory at Fitzpatrick Stadium. And yes, the Scots got their wish. They raised the Gold Ball.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Antonio Bruni reacts after his team’s quarterback, Zach Dubiel, scored on a 6-yard run on fourth down – the winning points as Bonny Eagle captured the Class A title.

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Bonny Eagle and Cheverus have made magical state championship moments in winning a combined seven titles against other teams. Now this was their chance to do it against each other. They didn’t disappoint.

Quarterback Zach Dubiel scored from 6 yards on fourth down with 22.8 seconds remaining to complete an 82-yard drive in the final 2:12 that gave the Scots a 31-28 win over Cheverus for the Class A state championship Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Neither team had ever lost in a state final. Something had to give.

Forcing a Cheverus punt, Bonny Eagle (10-1) got the ball back on its 18 with 2:12 left.

“We had one last drive to win it and we gave it our all,” said Dubiel, a junior. “Everyone was bringing everyone else up.”

Dubiel threw an incomplete pass on first down. On second down he handled off to Jon Woods, who gained 21 yards. The Scots wouldn’t pass again, instead hitching their wagon to Woods, Dubiel and their line.

“When you have a guy like Woods, why not give it to him?” said Dubiel.

An 11-yard run by Woods brought it to midfield, then his 20-yard run and a personal foul on Cheverus (10-1) for a late hit gave Bonny Eagle the ball at the 15 with 1:35 left. Three more runs by Woods got it to the 6 and a fourth-and-1.

Dubiel went straight ahead through a good hole to score. Woods carried six times for 51 yards on the winning drive.

“I saw a hole and ran through it,” said Dubiel.

It’s a play that’s been Bonny Eagle’s bread and butter for years.

“We call it our quarterback wrap,” said Coach Kevin Cooper. “It’s our favorite play. We’re able to run it behind linemen Brandon Johnson and Isaiah Reynolds. We put it in Zach’s hands and let him make a play.”

The Stags got one final crack. At their 31, a pass down the sideline from Ethan Jordan intended for Sam Cross fell incomplete, a screen to Cody O’Brien only gained a couple yards, and a final heave with 4.5 seconds left was intercepted by Woods.

It was a back-and-forth game. Bonny Eagle led three times, and Cheverus tied it twice and took a lead once.

That lead, 28-24 late in the third quarter, came after Cheverus took advantage of the wind to score 14 points in 2:39. The Stags drove deep early in the fourth quarter and tried a 31-yard field goal by Patrick Mourmouras that was wide.

Bonny Eagle then made one first down before having to punt. Looking to run time off the clock, Cheverus made two first downs, the first on a neat spin move by Joe Fitzpatrick on third down for eight yards and another when Bonny Eagle jumped offsides. The Stags couldn’t get a third and punted, giving Bonny Eagle its final chance.

Cheverus punted from the Bonny Eagle 30 on fourth-and-8. Cheverus Coach John Wolfgram said there was no question about punting.

“It’s difficult to pick up 8 yards,” said Wolfgram. “We wanted to make them drive the field. We didn’t punt the ball well. We were hoping to get the ball inside the 10.

“Bonny Eagle is a very explosive team. It was that explosiveness that won them the game. I thought we played a very good football game. We answered them three or four times, we just couldn’t stop them in the end. We just came up a little short.”

Bonny Eagle showed its big- play capabilities early when Matt Smith, showing breakaway speed, scored on a 66-yard run straight up the middle on the Scots’ first series.

(Continued on page 2)

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