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Missed kicks haunt Knott in 20-19 OT loss to Keenan

Ryan Kiefer | Monday, November 15, 2004

In a game filled with long passes, crucial tackles and trickery, it was one of the most overlooked plays in football that decided the men’s interhall championship. Eric Wooldridge’s missed extra point in overtime, Knott’s second failed conversion of the day, gave Keenan a 20-19 victory in front of a spirited crowd Sunday at the Stadium.”This couldn’t be any better,” Keenan quarterback Eric Laumann said. “We had a great team and put forth a great effort today. I’m so happy for all of our guys, especially the seniors.”Laumann’s three touchdown passes accounted for all of the scoring for the Knights, who finished the season undefeated. It appeared as though the favored Knights would roll to an easy victory early in the game, as they scored on their first play from scrimmage. Laumann launched a 64-yard touchdown to Jon Wood to give Keenan an early advantage. After a three-and-out by the Knott offense, Keenan figured to get the ball back with a chance to build on their lead. Instead, the Juggs successfully executed a fake punt, with quarterback Justin Gillet taking the snap and completing a 14-yard pass. This was crucial in swinging the momentum toward Knott as the emotionally-charged Juggs went on to score to end that drive. Gillet connected with tight end Mike Talerico for a three-yard touchdown to account for the tally. The Juggs became the first team to score on Keenan in the playoffs. Wooldridge’s first failed kick of the game, however, left Knott trailing 7-6.Keenan’s balanced attack allowed them to respond immediately with a 13-play, 65-yard drive, culminating with a 10-yard pass to receiver Danny Zenker, who tight-roped along the sideline for the score. The Knights’ extra point was blocked, leaving them with a 13-6 halftime advantage. The underdog Juggs came out in the second half with an inspired effort as they controlled much of the play on both sides of the ball, outgaining Keenan 91 to nine. The Juggs were able to crack the vaunted Knight defense, combining the running ability of John Lyons and the accurate passing of Gillet. The quarterback was able to find holes in the secondary throughout the half completing 7-of-10 passes after halftime. Knott was able to tie the game with a 14-yard play action pass to Trey Patrick. Patrick’s twisting, over-the-shoulder catch late in the fourth quarter gave Knott the opportunity to win the game as the Juggs had the ball inside the Keenan 15 with less than two minutes left. A holding penalty and a sack pushed the Juggs out of field goal range as the clock expired. Zenker’s acrobatic catch on the second play of overtime gave the Knights the 20-13 advantage. Knott’s overtime possession left them two yards from the end zone on fourth down. Gillet found Joe McCarthy on a play-action pass to set the stage for the missed kick.”We just told [Wooldridge] after that game that you win and lose as a team,” Knott captain Drew Donovan said. “He didn’t miss a kick for us all during the regular season and playoffs, and without him we wouldn’t have even been at the Stadium.” The drama of the final play incited a raucous celebration as the Keenan fans rushed the field to congratulate their team. Laumann’s excitement reflected that of the entire team, especially that of captain Pat Downey, whose injury limited him to a coaching role for the majority of the season. Laumann’s comments showed the team’s respect for Downey’s leadership ability. “It was a tough role reversal for him, but he made all the right calls today,” Laumann said. “I’m glad to play for the guy.”