Football: Conquerors Come Up One Point Short in Epic Overtime Battle

Opening Kickoff of an Epic Double-Overtime Battle (PHOTO: Beth Bureau, TCA)

For the second consecutive week, the Trinity Christian Academy Conquerors played a classic seesaw affair with one of Florida's top-rated teams from a high-level class. In week 2, Clayton Roerig's game-winning field goal gave the Conquerors a 45-42 overtime win after 3A Trinity and 6A Godby traded leads throughout the night. In Week 3, Trinity swapped leads with 7A Venice for 48 minutes, and the two teams played extra football to determine the winner. This time, however, after two supplementary possessions, it was the opposition who came out on top as Venice used a two-point conversion to top the Conquerors 50-49 in double overtime.

Brian Taylor of the Venice Indians scored the game-winning two-pointer with a run up the middle to give his team the win. The conversion followed Ryan Overstreet's fourth-down five-yard touchdown pass to Florida State University commit Malachi Wideman in the back corner of the end zone to pull the Indians to within one.

Regulation ended with the score tied at 35-all. Venice had the first possession in overtime, and on first down at the 10, Taylor broke two tackles and surged into the end zone. Trinity's Kyjuan Herndon responded with a tackle-breaking 10-yard touchdown scamper of his own. Both Conner Anderson of Venice and Roerig of Trinity converted the PAT's to make the score 42-42 and force a second overtime.

Herndon repeated his effort on first down, and the extra point put Trinity ahead 49-42. The defense then stopped Venice three times, but a pass interference call set up 4th and 5 for Overstreet and Wideman.

Overstreet entered the game shortly before the end of the first half when starting quarterback Nico DallaCosta suffered a blow when he hit the ground after his helmet fell off during a play. DallaCosta did not return. Overstreet finished the night 8 for 19 in passing, good for 79 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He also scored a touchdown on a three-yard run that gave Venice a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter, which Venice took into the intermission.

The Conquerors opened the scoring on their first possession. After leading his offense 60 yards to the Venice 20, Jacory Jordan hit Marcus Burke in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Venice answered on its first possession with a 9-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in DallaCosta's 10-yard scoring pass to Weston Wolfe. The score was tied at 7-7 after one period.

DallaCosta's four-yard touchdown run at the second quarter's 7:41 mark capped a go-ahead 66-yard drive before Overstreet scored with 2:56 left until halftime.

Trinity's defense forced and recovered two fumbles in the third quarter, and the offense turned them both into touchdowns. Tristan Herndon (forced) and D.J. Clea (recovered) set up the first of the two scoring drives, and Williams Tippens (forced) and Lucius Lattimore (recovered) gave Trinity the ball back as time expired to end the third quarter.

The takeaways resulted in Kyjuan Herndon's 34-yard touchdown run midway through the third and Burke's 34-yard TD catch from Jordan to tie the game at 21-all just 40 seconds into the fourth. Venice responded with a 75-yard drive that ended with Taylor's 12-yard score to reclaim the lead.

Herndon took the first snap after the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the game-tying touchdown, and the defense forced a Venice punt on the subsequent drive.

The play of the night came after Venice downed Dustin Smith's punt on the Trinity 2 and a penalty put the ball on the 1. On first and 10, Jordan threw from 5 yards inside the end zone and hit a wide-open Burke at the Trinity 40. Burke made the catch on the dead run and beat his defender for 60 yards to complete a 99-yard touchdown pass, the longest play possible in American football.

That bomb put Trinity ahead 35-28 with 6:04 left in regulation.

Chuck Brantley returned the ensuing kickoff to the Trinity 40. Venice's Damarian Escort soon took it in from the 2, and Anderson's extra point tied the score at 35.

Trinity had one last chance in regulation. Roerig's 32-yard field goal attempt from the left hash mark missed just inches wide left with 6 seconds left. Overstreet then downed the ball to send the game into overtime.

Herndon rushed for 237 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries for the Conquerors, and Burke caught 6 passes for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jordan was 9 for 18 for 258 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. The Conquerors totaled 597 yards of offense, and Roerig was 7 for 7 in PAT's.

The Venice offense totaled 418 yards with Taylor gaining 176 of them on the ground; he also scored three touchdowns and the game-winning two-pointer to highlight the Indians' attack. DallaCosta was 5 for 10 for 106 yards passing and 1 touchdown, and he rushed for 52 yards.

The Conquerors will next play Plantation's American Heritage Academy at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 14. Two more home games will follow with Miami Carol City and Pahokee to finish out the month of September.

IN-LINE PHOTOS: Cliff Willis, TCA Athletics Videographer

STATS: Larry Withers, TCA Football Statistician

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