CAMDEN — The Preble Shawnee football team suffered a heartbreaking 28-26 loss to Northridge after a touchdown pass by Polar Bear quarterback Anthony Carroll — with 30 seconds left in the game on Friday, Oct. 23 — gave the visitors a late victory.
“I was at a loss for words and that’s something crazy for me,” head coach Matt Hopkins said. “But at some point we have to make plays. When the game is on the line we have to make plays, all 11 of us.”
The Arrows scored after a dramatic drive ended with Arrow quarterback Joby Williams finding Trey Smith for a 20-yard touchdown in his first game back from injury. With 2:53 left in the game, this put the Arrows up 26-22.
The touchdown however came 30 seconds too soon for the Arrows, who gave up 15 yards on a late hit on the kick return giving the Polar Bears good field position with just over two and a half minutes to play.
A missed tackle allowed the visitors to get inside the ten, but the Arrow defense held on the first three downs, setting up fourth down.
For the second time in two weeks, the Arrow defense found itself in position to play the roles of heroes, but on this night it was Carroll who accepted the part.
On fourth and goal from the eight, Carroll managed to spin out of a sack, something he managed to do several times throughout the game, and found Averon Ely Jr. for the winning score with just over 30 seconds left in the game.
Carroll threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns and added 106 rushing yards on 24 attempts as he broke numerous tackles all night.
“We didn’t tackle very well — it’s easy to spin out of things when you’re not wrapping and driving you’re feet,” Hopkins said. “That’s what it comes down to, we didn’t have good fundamentals. Don’t get me wrong — he’s a good athlete, a really good athlete — but you can’t help a good athlete by not being fundamentally sound.”
The loss puts the Arrows at 1-5 in the SWBL Buckeye as injuries once again plague them. Last week stand out Matt Hall left the game early and did not return.
Hall’s absence opened the door for sophomore running back Chase Thompson, who totaled 135 yards of offense including a rushing touchdown.
Luke Lovely opened the scoring on the first drive of the game when he finished off a drive with a one-yard score to give the Arrows a 6-0 lead with 7:40 left in the first quarter.
Northridge responded three plays later, when Carroll found Tavion Wallace for a 68-yard score. A two point conversion gave Northridge an 8-6 lead.
Thompson found the endzone two possessions later from three yards out, to give the home team a 13-8 lead with seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Northridge regained a one point lead on the next drive when Derrick Skinner capped off a drive with a three yard touchdown run.
Northridge extended the lead to two possessions to start the second half when Skinner got his second touchdown on the night with an eight yard score. This made it Northridge, 22, Preble Shawnee, 13, with 7:51 left in the third.
The Arrow defense however would not allow another score until the final possession, and the offense managed to come back to life.
A long pass to Thompson set up an eight-yard run by Williams to make the score 22-19 with 1:56 left in the quarter.
In the final frame, the teams traded punts and failed fourth down conversions until an end-around pass from Kevin Ketring to Smith put the Arrows deep into Northridge territory.
Despite a penalty backing up the Arrows, Williams found Smith from 20 yards with 2:56 to play, giving the Arrows the lead.
All this set up for Carroll’s heroics, who found a way to make one play and give the visitors a shocking win.
The loss leaves Preble Shawnee 3-6 on the year and 1-5 in the SWBL Buckeye Division as they prepare to host Monroe (5-4, 4-2) on Friday, Oct. 30, for the final game of the year.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.