SHEFFIELD TWP. — Vermilion and Clearview put on an epic struggle for the ages and by the time the Clippers’ 27-24 victory was complete, it wasn’t clear if the game film should go to the Cleveland Clinic cardiac department, NFL Films or Crime Stoppers.
The cardiologists might be in order after the back and forth battle of stunning plays, near misses and pulse pounding action that likely had fans of both squads with their heart in their throat.
Driving down the field with time running out and the chance to win or tie the game with less than 10 seconds remaining, Vermilion quarterback Nick Bray rushed to the line and spiked the ball in an effort to stop the clock on what everyone in the stadium thought was a very heady, time saving third down play. That is until the officials placed the ball and signaled first down Clearview, indicating that Bray had spiked fourth down.
While the Vermilion sidelines erupted in disbelief that Clippers took the field finished off the clock.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know,” Vermilion coach Rob Duray said. “We all thought it was third down, we had it charted as third down, and it turned out it wasn’t third down.
“It’s a tough, tough way to lose a football game, that’s for sure. It is what it is and we have to move forward.”
On the winning side, Clearview head coach Mike Collier was sympathetic, but no less in possession of a clear explanation of what had transpired.
“I believe they said it was fourth down,” Collier said. “Yeah they had it as fourth down and I think it just didn’t get changed. It happened pretty bang bang, I’ll have to go back and watch the film.”
The whole reason that the Sailors were racing to get back in front was their inability to hold their previous
24-20 lead in the fourth quarter when they were victimized by the Clippers dynamic duo of quarterback Roger Engle and reciever Lance Billings on a 69-yard strike with 50.8 seconds left in the game.
“We weren’t walking off the field without a win,” Engle said. “Draw up the play, roll it left, look backside and there he (Billings) was and just let him do his thing.”
Engle rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries. Vermilion also worked over Billings up until the very last minute.
“There was a lot of double teaming on me all day and I knew my team was kind of counting on me to make a play and I didn’t want to let them down,” Billings said. “We needed to make a big play and we did.”
The Sailors got strong rushing performances from their “three-headed monster” of Brandon Cole and the Zannoni brothers, Brenden and Caine, who torched the Clipper defense for 167 yards and two scores between them. Quarterback Nick Bray completed 11-of-14 pass attempts for 143 yards and a TD.
Contact Fred Steiner at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org