In the final play of the game, the Westminster Wildcats decided they were going for the win on the road against Pace Academy. They lined up for a 2-point conversion when all they needed was the extra kick to send the game into a second overtime, and that’s when the magic happened.
Tight end Truman Jones fell to the ground after making his block — that was the plan — and when he stood up and ran a few short feet to the end zone, he turned to see the ball floating in the air, as if in slow motion, and caught it to give the Wildcats a 15-14 overtime win in a game they never led, stealing a crucial Region 5-AAA game from the No. 10 Knights on Friday at Walsh Field.
“I’ve been thinking about this the whole season since we put that play in,” said Truman, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior committed to Harvard, “because I knew it would come down to a moment like this. We’ve been practicing that play all summer.
With the win, the Wildcats are 2-4 and 2-1 in 5-AAA, while the Knights fall to 2-3 and 2-1.
The game was scoreless until Keashawn Perryman’s 11-yard run with 0:48 remaining in the first half. Twice on the 12-play, 71-yard drive, the Wildcats’ defense appeared to have stopped them. Pace lined up to punt on fourth-and-15, but a Wildcats 15-yard personal foul penalty extended the Knights’ drive. Five plays later on fourth-and-6, the Knights again lined up to punt, but kicker Patrick Markwalter instead threw a 9-yard completion to Sam Assaf. Three plays later, Perryman was in the end zone.
That score would hold until 1:43 left in the game, when Joe Egan tied it on a 38-yard run. The score was set up by Truman’s 26-yard reception in which he broke two tackles and bolted down the sidelines into Knights territory.
“When he made that play, that’s when we started clicking offensively,” said Wildcats coach Gerry Romberg, in his 26th season at Westminster.
Pace had a couple of chances to add to its lead on the drive preceding Westminster’s score, but couldn’t capitalize. Markwalter missed a 51-yard field goal wide left, but the Wildcats were penalized 5 yards for running into him. He then missed a 46-yarder short.
On the first play in overtime, Perryman ran 15 yards for the score to give the Knights a brief 14-7 lead. On Westminster’s possession, Egan ran 9 yards on the first play to set the Wildcats up on the 6. Two plays later, quarterback Chance Loeffler rushed to the left and dove through the end zone for the score, setting up the final play.
“It’s a huge region win to get us back on track,” Loeffler said. “We never quit.”
Egan finished with 65 yards and a score on 9 carries for Westminster and Pace’s Perryman led all rushers with 148 yards and two scores on 17 carries.
The Knights take on top-ranked Cedar Grove at home next week, while the Wildcats host McNair.
Westminster 0 0 0 7 8- 15
Pace Academy 0 0 7 0 7 - 14
P - Keashawn Perryman 11 run (Patrick Markwalter kick)
W - Joe Egan 38 run (Charlie Ham kick)
P - Perryman 15 run (Markwalter kick)
W - Chance Loeffler 6 run (Truman Jones pass from Loeffler)