Game of the Week: Windsor takes NBL-Oak crown with last-second win over Cardinal Newman
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but the closing seconds will go down as one of the most exciting and dramatic finishes in Windsor High School football history.
Trailing all game, the first-place Jaguars secured their first and only lead with no time left on the clock Friday night as kicker Kailer Behrens’ extra point on the heels of Wyatt Morris’ two-yard touchdown run gave Windsor a 14-13 victory over Cardinal Newman and the North Bay League-Oak title.
It’s the first time that Windsor (8-2, 5-0) has beaten Cardinal Newman in school history and it’s the program’s first league title since 2011.
“Words probably can’t describe how I feel right now,” said first-year Windsor head coach DJ Sexton. “I’ll probably get some better wording here in a few hours when it all settles in, but this is a huge win for our program and I think it puts us on the map here in our first year.
“Our kids just played really hard,” he added. “You have to give it to our kids. We’re a young team and they showed a lot of resiliency tonight against a great team.”
Here’s how Friday’s thriller, The Press Democrat’s final regular-season Game of the Week, went down.
After being stymied by the Cardinals’ defense all game, Windsor got the ball back at its own 15 with just under four minutes left and finally put together a strong drive deep into Cardinals territory in the closing seconds.
With 16 seconds remaining, Windsor had first and 10 at Newman’s 10-yard line with two timeouts. Quarterback Judson Anderson got the Jaguars to the four with a run. Both teams then called consecutive timeouts.
On the next offensive play, Anderson rolled out to his left and had a wide-open Max McFerren in the end zone, but his pass floated just out of McFerren’s reach, bringing up a third down with four seconds left.
On the following play — what would have been the last of the game — Anderson was once again forced to scramble and attempted a pass to Joseph Smith in the end zone that was batted down by Kaize Steverson. The play appeared to end the game and the Cardinals started to streak off the field in celebration — until they noticed the flag.
The official in the back of the end zone called Steverson for pass interference, giving Windsor one final play from the 2-yard line with no time left. Morris cashed it in and Behrens split the uprights on the kick after.
Moments later, he was being lifted on the shoulders of his teammates as they poured onto the field in celebration.
“I had my teammates hyping me up on the sidelines,” Behrens said. “I had to make sure I didn’t get too excited because I could always miss, but that wasn’t the case.”
Morris finished with a team-high 71 rushing yards on 16 carries with both of Windsor’s touchdowns.
“I knew our squad, I knew we could get it done,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it ever since I was a little kid — I knew one day when I grew up, we’re going to beat that team and we got it done ... we got it done.”
The PI call
The pass interference call that gave Windsor a second life was one of several on Friday night that drew objection from the Cardinals. Newman was called for 11 penalties in the second half and three alone on Windsor’s final drive. The first was a 15-yard personal foul for a head-to-head hit. The second, before the PI, was a face mask that moved the Jaguars from Newman’s 15 to the 10 with under 20 seconds left.
The PI itself will likely be debated and argued about for years to come, but those discussions won’t change reality or the outcome of the game.
When asked after the game about his thoughts on the call, Cardinal Newman coach Richard Sanchez said, “I failed to protect my players over something that they had no control over. They played their hearts out and I’m proud of them, but that’s my failure. We just have to overcome it.”