Friday night was supposed to be a celebration of a perennial YAIAA football powerhouse unveiling a new turf field.
Instead it turned into a celebration of New Oxford's first victory since Oct. 18, 2013.
The night started with representatives from every Bermudian Springs graduating class dating to 1943 on hand for a ceremony dedicating the new turf field named Alumni Field. It ended with New Oxford kicker Luis Partida kicking a 27-yard field goal as time expired to give his team, which went 0-10 last season, a 24-21 win against the Eagles, who had put together undefeated regular seasons in three of the last four years.
"I couldn't feel anything. I knew I was gonna make it, I'd been practicing all week," said Partida, a senior soccer player who had never played in a varsity football game before this one. "I knew I had to do this for the team."
The kick came at the same at the end of the field where, in 2013, Littlestown finished an epic 21-play, 63-yard drive with a touchdown, handing Bermudian Springs' its only defeat in the last four seasons.
New Oxford's final drive Friday was epic in its own right, as the Colonials drove into Eagles' territory from their own 20-yard line. On a third-and-8, a 27-yard run on a reverse to wide receiver Trevon Brown put the Colonials inside the Bermudian Springs' 10-yard line with less than a minute left to set up the winning kick.
"We had it in our back pocket the whole game, that's something we worked on," New Oxford coach Jason Warner said of the play call. "There were times in the game we wanted to do it and I was in the headphones with (coach Alex Smith) and I kept saying, 'Let's hold onto it, let's hold onto it.' And finally when we had the ball there at the end, he said, 'Coach, you can't hold onto it forever.'"
Brown broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage to get into the open field. After the Colonials failed to move the ball with three plays in the red zone, Warner let the clock run down to 2.7 seconds before sending Partida out for the winning kick. Moments later, the Colonials swarmed Partida near the brand-new Eagles logo at midfield.
"It's everything we've ever dreamed of," New Oxford senior running back Josh Shultz said of the victory. "Coming into this, we knew it was our last chance to beat Berm. We knew how much of a powerhouse Berm was, but we managed to pull it off."
Shultz ran for all three of New Oxford's touchdowns on a night when he carried the ball 23 times for 97 yards. His first two scores put New Oxford up 13-0 early in the second quarter.
Bermudian Springs, which returned just one starter from last year's Division III champion team, climbed back to take a 14-13 lead with two touchdowns by freshman Chase Dull, who ran for 130 yards. But the Eagles, who already struggled with a poor snap on a punt that went over punter Noah Aeppli's head earlier in the game, let another one sail over that Aeppli had to fall on for a safety just before halftime.
After the two teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, the game remained deadlocked until Partida's field goal as time ran out.
"I said before the game, you win with fundamentals," Bermudian Springs coach Jon DeFoe said. "We made a couple more mistakes than they did and at the end of the night, that's the difference."
New Oxford6963—24Bermudian Springs01470—21
NO — Josh Shultz 1 run, 2:50 (kick failed)
NO — Shultz 7 run, 11:16 (Luis Partida kick)
BeS — Chase Dull 24 run, 6:34 (Noah Aeppli kick)
BeS — Dull 7 pass from Tristan Hoke, 3:00 (Aeppli kick)
NO — Safety, 0:44
NO — Shultz 12 run, 8:21 (kick failed)
BeS — Hoke 1 run, 2:03 (Aeppli kick)
NO — Partida 27 field goal
NOBeSFirst downs99Rushes-yards 42-15439-116Passing5-10-01-6-1Passing yards567Total yards210123Punts3-33.672-41.5Fumbles-lost2-13-0Penalties-yards3-202-10
Rushing — NO, Josh Shultz 23-97, Corban Czap 15-42, Trevon Brown 1-27, Elijah Myers 1-1, Issac Siegman 1-5, Tanner Miller 1-(-18). BeS, Ashton West 12-39, Tristan Hoke 6-(-20), Devon Hodgen 6-13, Chase Dull 11-130, Quinton King 4-10, Noah Aeppli 2-(-56).
Passing — NO, Czap 5-10-0-56. BeS, Hoke 1-6-1-7.
Receiving — NO, Brown 1-13, Bret Savaleski 2-17, Shane Rolle 2-26. BeS, Dull 1-7.