What could have been?
Sheffield's football team outworked, out-gained and generally outplayed unbeaten Coudersport for four quarters Saturday at Sheffield High School. In the end, it was the Falcons who were able to come away with a 7-6 overtime victory to remain undefeated.
The Wolverines (1-4) looked to have the Falcons (5-0) on the ropes in overtime as a tackle for loss had Coudy facing a second and goal from the 15. Falcons quarterback Josh Gibson was under pressure on second down and sailed a pass out of the endzone, leading to what should have been a third and goal from the 15.
Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg
Taking a dive
Hector Collazo dives to make a catch for Sheffield during a District 9 game against Coudersport Saturday at Sheffield High School.
However, a controversial pass interference call against the Wolverines gave the Falcons a first down on the eight-yard-line. Mitch Freeman plunged in on the next play to set up the game-winning extra point.
"I couldn't be prouder of the way we played today," said Sheffield coach Bryan Gould. "We had an outstanding effort."
Neither team was able to get much going offensively through the first half, combining for no points and just 230 yards of total offense. Most notably, the Wolverines were able to hold the Falcons' leading rusher, Caden Whitman, to just 22 yards through two quarters.
Coudy 0 0 0 0 7-7
Sheffield 0 00 0 6-6
S- Shequan Wright to Hector Collazo 17 pass, run failed
C- Mitch Freeman 8 run, Joel Pepper kick
RUSHING-C- Mitch Freeman 16 for 58, TD, Caden Whitman 8 for 28, Alex Furman 4 for 14, Jason Gibson 3 for 6; S- Nick Bonavita 25 for 100, Kalil Slaughter 9 for 50, Shequan Wright 11 for 25, Brandon Ryan 3 for 14, Ike Nearing 1 for 1
PASSING-C- Jason Gibson 6 of 11 for 57, 2 INT; S- Shequan Wright 6 of 18 for 79, TD, INT
RECEIVING-C- Zac Elenchin 2 for 36, Mitch Freeman 3 for 19, Caden Whitman 1 for 2; S- Hector Collazo 2 for 46, TD, Brandon Ryan 2 for 22, Tyler Fitzgerald 1 for 9, George Fitch 1 for 2
"The defense played tremendously today," Gould said.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter before either team had a good scoring opportunity. Sheffield rode the tough running of Nick Bonavita down to the 25. Kalil Slaughter then broke off a 17-yard run to set up a first and goal from the eight. Shequan Wright appeared to have scored on a quarterback sneak from the two, but an illegal procedure penalty against the Wolverines erased the touchdown. Coudy was able to stop Bonavita just shy of the goalline on fourth down to take over possession.
"We missed some opportunities today," Gould said. "We had the ball on the two and we didn't make it happen."
Coudersport appeared to have something going on the ensuing possession, marching out to the 40. The Sheffield defense stepped up at that point, getting a big tackle for loss from Slaughter. The Falcons decided to go for it on fourth down, but Whitman was stopped short of the marker. Whitman was taken off the field in an ambulance after suffering a leg injury on the play.
"We made that big fourth down stop, that was huge," Gould said. "Again, our defense gave us the ball back with a little bit of time left."
The Falcons held the Wolverines on a fourth down play and took over on their own 39 with just under two minutes to play. Coudy took the ball into Sheffield territory, but Ike Nearing intercepted Josh Gibson's pass on the 15 with 30 seconds left to force overtime.
The Wolverines had possession first in the overtime. A holding penalty on second down had Sheffield facing third and goal from the 17. Wright just missed George Fitch in the endzone on third down and Sheffield elected to go for the touchdown instead of the field goal on fourth down.
Wright through a jump ball in the endzone that Hector Collazo was able to wrestle away from Gibson to put the first points of the game on the board. Wright was stopped short of the goalline on the attempted two-point conversion.
Collazo's tackle for loss on first down set up the controversial second down play for the Falcons. Joel Pepper kicked what would turn out to be the game-winning extra point for Coudersport.
Even in the loss, Gould said that there were a number of things that Sheffield did well that he hopes to be able to carry on into the rest of the season.
"We played Coudersport who is undefeated and at the top of our division and we played them tough," Gould said. "There's nothing to be ashamed of today. I just hope we can carry this intensity and this passion into Homecoming next week."
Sheffield will look to pick up its second win of the season Saturday as the Wolverines host Otto-Eldred for Homecoming.