Abderhalden, Lee Rally Past Drury
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- It was a tale of two halves Saturday afternoon between the Drury Blue Devils and the visiting Lee Wildcats as 30 of the game's 38 total points were scored in the second half and with three of the game's six touchdowns coming in the final three minutes of the contest.
Lee ended up with the victory 24-14, but it was much closer than the score showed as the Wildcats trailed by two points with two minutes, 58 seconds to play in the game after Drury quarterback Nate Stump connected with Kirby Bryce down the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown on fourth down and 11 with their team trailing by four.
"Dropped passes and two touchdowns called off the board on penalties. Seemed like our focus wasn't where it needed to be," Lee coach Kieth Thompson said about his team's struggles in first half that saw them trailing 8-0 at intermission. "We lit into them a little bit at halftime about getting their stuff together.
"Give Drury credit. They played a helluva football game. It's always a battle here. When they scored that one down there inside of the three minutes, fourth down and long. But our kids kept fighting and found a way to drive the ball back down the field and what a catch by Trey McNinch to keep our season alive."
After the Drury score, the Wildcats marched 47 yards down the field and quarterback Cam Abderhalden found wideout McNinch, who made an outstanding jump ball catch in the left corner of the end zone over a Blue Devil defender with just 52 seconds left on the clock for what would be the game-winning touchdown.
"It was a double move, a post corner route," said Thompson about the play call. "We bring a guy in motion to help in protection and try to get a one on one situation with their corner. It's a set we hadn't run all day. We liked getting Trey matched up one on one out there and him and Cam have a great rapport with each other. Trey just went up and made one helluva catch and saved our season."
"We did an awesome job of keeping our poise," Abderhalden said about the team's game winning drive. "Receivers were calm. I was calm. Running backs were calm. They made catches when we needed it."
"It was one-on-one, and I was just trying to get the cornerback turned around a little and make a play on the ball," McNinch said about the touchdown play. "Cam put up a great one and it was just a jump ball between me and the corner and I was able to pull it down."
The two-point conversion was no good but the touchdown put Lee ahead 18-14 with very little time for Drury to get down the field. The Blue Devils would end up turning the ball over on their first play after the score when Adam Finnegan scooped a low throw from hitting the ground.
Lee tacked on one more touchdown for insurance to finish the game on a nine-yard run by Finnegan with 17 seconds left.
Drury's first touchdown of the game came at the start of second quarter after a nice 68-yard, 12-play drive. On third down and 12, a pass interference penalty in the endzone gave the Blue Devils first and 10 from the Lee 11. On the next play, Stump ran a quarterback keeper right up the middle and in for six. The two-point conversion was good on another Stump quarterback keeper.
After a talking to at halftime from the coaching staff, the Wildcats kicked things into gear as they scored on their first two possessions of the second half. Both touchdowns came on runs by Jordan LePrevost, the first from 21 yards out and the second from 15.
LePrevost finished with 76 yards on the day, 74 of them after the half. Finnegan went for 81 yards with 70 of his yards coming in the second half as well and one touchdown.
Abderhalden completed 7 of 16 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown. Three of his seven completions were on the final game winning drive of the game including the game-winning touchdown.
Drury travels to Monument Mountain on Friday while Lee hosts Mount Greylock.