WESTBROOK – It was down, certainly, but not defeated.

The Greely High football team suffered not one but two major gaffes in the final 14 seconds of the first half Friday night. Instead of hanging their heads, the Rangers responded with a ferocious second half.

Greely scored 27 consecutive second-half points to pull away from Westbrook and earn a 33-12 victory at Olmsted Field.

Drew Hodge threw for 187 yards and three touchdowns, and the Rangers intercepted two passes in the fourth quarter, Pat Finnegan returning the second for a touchdown.

“We just came out mentally tough and took care of business,” said Hodge, who completed 12 of 18 passes. “We knew we had to come out and be mentally tough.”

Greely (3-0) had to be mentally tough after the way the first half ended. The Rangers led 6-0 and faced a fourth-and-4 from their 35 with 13.4 seconds left. Instead of punting, Finnegan took the snap and ran right, but was dropped for a 1-yard loss with 6.2 seconds left.

After a Westbrook timeout, quarterback Kyle Heath found a wide-open Collin Joyce down the middle for a touchdown with one second left to tie it. The conversion rush failed.

“It was my call,” said Greely Coach Dave Higgins. “My fault, just one of those things.”

The touchdown compounded Greely’s pain.

“Kudos to them,” said Higgins. “They made a great play.”

But Greely then dominated, and Higgins said he had nothing to do with that.

“It was really all the kids,” he said. “I’ve got tremendous kids, great leadership and the important thing is they believe in themselves. Believe me, I wish I could say I said something to inspire them, but it had nothing to do with me.”

Hodge continually found Nick Maynard (five catches, 89 yards, one touchdown), Connor Hanley (three catches, 55 yards, one touchdown) and running back Svenn Jacobson (four catches, 43 yards, one touchdown).

“There were times I saw some things that we could exploit but there were things we still have to work on,” said Hodge. “We just got into a rhythm. That’s this game. If we get in a rhythm, they’re not going to stop us.”

Greely forced a punt on the opening series of the third quarter, then drove 47 yards in nine plays to go ahead on a 15-yard pass to Hanley, who made a nice leaping catch across the middle. Pat Finnegan kicked the PAT.

After forcing another punt, Greely moved 43 yards in five plays, Jacobson covering the final 28 when he took a pass from Hodge in the left flat, shed a tackle at the 15 and ran in. Finnegan’s PAT made it 20-6.

“We just came out like it was a 0-0 game (in the second half),” said Jacobson. “We knew we had to prove something.”

Westbrook (2-1) responded with a nice drive, but Nick Dubois intercepted at the 5, returning to the Greely 34. Back-to-back 15-yard penalties against Westbrook moved the ball closer and Jacobson scored on a 4-yard run.

On Westbrook’s next possession, Finnegan returned an interception 40 yards for a score.

“Give Greely all the credit,” said Blazes Coach Jeff Guerette. “They out-executed us in all three phases. They deserved to win.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH