Related: Delone Catholic's Matt Giuffreda endures conflicting emotions
Related: Delone's Brett Smith: 'It's tough to have it end like this'
Delone Catholic High quarterback Brett Smith fell to the ground clutching his helmet.
Running back Matt Giuffreda lay motionless on the ground and the rest of the Squires were standing in shock as Bellwood-Antis had just ended the Squires season in heartbreaking fashion.
In double overtime and down 33-26, Delone had second-and-10 from the Bellwood-Antis 10-yard line. Smith handed off to Giuffreda, who never fully gained control of the ball, and it fell aimlessly to the ground, where the Blue Devils' Nick Torsell fell on top of it to seal the Squires' fate.
"It was heartbreaking," Delone coach Steve Wiles said. "It hurts. You hate to lose that way. You would rather get mercy-ruled. We did everything right to win the football game. We just needed another play or two to seal the deal. That is what makes it hurt. There were a lot of emotions up and down."
Coming into the game, few gave the Squires a chance to win, especially after Bellwood-Antis hung 54 points on Bishop McCort last week in a 54-3 win.
"I saw them play and their speed is scary," Wiles said. "I thought we matched up well with these guys. They had only given up 40 points in the last eight games."
It was a game full of emotional highs and lows. The Squires fell behind early after Bellwood-Antis took the opening possession 68 yards on 12 plays and got a 1-yard run by Casey Gray for the score. The drive was highlighted by Gray's seven rushes for 51 yards.
Down 12-0, with Bellwood-Antis seemingly having all the momentum, the Squires were looking at fourth-and-3 at the Bellwood-Antis 35. Deciding to go for it, Smith rolled out to the right, bought some time and found a wide open Lance Reneker for a 27-yard gain. Four plays later, Giuffreda ran five yards into the end zone to put the Squires on the board.
"Their safety normally plays real deep and has a lot of speed," Wiles said. "That was all Brett. He scrambled out, gave himself more time and Lance got open."
The Squires received the ball coming out of the half and put together an eight-play, 68-yard drive that was capped by a 12-yard touchdown run to put the Squires ahead 13-12.
"We thought we could come out and stop them in the second half," Bellwood-Antis head coach John Hayes said. "They came out and ran it down our throats."
With 2:30 left in the fourth quarter and all of the momentum on Delone's side, Bellwood-Antis took control of the ball on the Delone 34. The Blue Devils returned to their ground game, which the Squires had stymied for the entire second half, and ran it effectively. On a 11-play drive, Gray's six carries for 35 yards got the drive going.
On second down from the 1-yard line, quarterback Seth Worthing used play action to find a wide open Ian O'Shea in the back left corner of the end zone.
"Our guys had been down most of the half," Hayes said. "That drive, they were literally running for their life. They had overdefended the outside against us, but our blockers did a great job getting to the perimeter to make holes for our guys."
On the first play of overtime, Brett Smith found Austin Noel wide open in the end zone for the score. A blocked extra point made it 26-20.
With renewed momentum, Bellwood-Antis rallied to tie the game on another touchdown by Gray. As fate would have it, Tyler Campbell's extra point attempt was wide left. swinging the momentum back in the Squires' direction.
On the Blue Devils' first play of double overtime, Gray scored his fourth touchdown of the game on a 10-yard run.
It was Delone's next possession when heartbreak happened.
The Squires had not turned the ball over all evening and had been executing to near perfection in the second half.
"Giuffreda did a great job all season," Wiles said. "I tried to tell him to keep his head up. He had a heck of a football game."
The loss puts a gripping end to an otherwise successful Squire season, in which Delone finished 9-4.
"Things didn't start out so well for us (this season)," Wiles said. "I think there were a lot of doubters even on the team. Every time it looked like we were done, these guys played a heck of a game. We had some very big wins when we needed them this year.
"A lot of people didn't think we would be here and we could have won this game very easily. I feel very bad for them. One play out of about five or six goes the other way and we have the win. I am just so proud of what they had accomplished this year."
Delone graduates a bevy of seniors, but none will be felt as much as the loss of quarterback/defensive back Brett Smith.
"They will be remembered as a team that played as a team," Wiles said. "Brett Smith was an awesome quarterback and leader. Outside of that, we don't have any superstars. These guys just play their hearts out."
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Delone Catholic 0 7 13 0 6 0 -- 26
Bellwood-Antis 6 6 0 8 6 7 -- 33
B-A -- Casey Gray 1 run (kick failed), 6:46.
B-A -- Haden DeGennaro 13 run (pass failed), 5:52.
DC -- Matt Giuffreda 5 run (Jay Strickland kick), 0:34.
DC -- Giuffreda 12 run (run failed), 7:58.
DC -- Lance Reneker 2 run (Strickland kick), 4:36.
B-A -- DeGennaro 1 run (Ian O'Shea pass from Seth Worthing), 0:32.
DC -- Austin Noel 10 pass from Brett Smith (kick blocked).
B-A -- Gray 1 run (kick failed).
B-A -- Gray 10 run (Tyler Campbell kick).
-- DC -- B-A
First downs -- 15 -- 15
Rushes-yards -- 42-189 -- 43-219
Passing -- 3-8-0 -- 4-7-1
Passing yards -- 68 -- 36
Total yards -- 257 -- 255
Punts -- 2-27.5 -- 1-30.0
Fumbles-lost -- 1-1 -- 1-0
Penalties-yards -- 5-35 -- 3-27
Rushing -- Delone Catholic, Giuffreda 21-94, Reneker 13-73, B. Smith 6-22, Zach Smith 2-0; Bellwood-Antis, Gray 23-130, DeGennaro 8-63, Campbell 4-10, Worthing 7-13, Tanner Snyder 1-3.
Passing -- Delone Catholic, B. Smith 3-8-0-68; Bellwood-Antis, Worthing 3-5-1-24, DeGennaro 1-1-0-12.
Receiving -- Delone Catholic, Reneker 2-58, Noel 1-10; Bellwood-Antis, Campbell 1-18, S. Worthing 1-12, Cameron Worthing 1-8, O'Shea 1-(-2).