It can’t have been a comfortable bus ride home Friday for the Comets after posting a 13-10 loss to Lakewood.
The Rangers pulled off a literally last-second win, putting up a field goal as time expired to leave Amherst without a win on the season.
Both teams were searching for victory at 0-9 going into the final game of 2015, and trying to avoid landing at the very bottom of the Southwestern Conference standings.
Prospects were bright for the Comets early on. They took a 3-0 lead in the glacial first half on an Allen Matakovich field goal. Despite being walked back on penalties, the Rangers put up the equalizer in the third quarter.
Lakewood again threatened from the 15 at the start of the fourth.
“Let’s go, Comets! We can do this. Stop them!” coach Bill Fishleigh screamed at his defense, igniting the sideline.
The line held and the Rangers sputtered, sending in the field goal unit again. This time, Amherst senior Noah Jackson was ready and hurdled over the middle for the block.
Energized, Comets quarterback Nick DeJesus led a strike deep into Lakewood territory. He pulled a draw to cut the field in half and set up Amherst on the 19 yard line.
That drive fizzled when the Rangers turned the tables, blocking the Comets’ field goal attempt — and Lakewood’s Michael Goolsby snapped up the ball and went 77 yards for a touchdown.
It looked grim, but junior Mark Harris didn’t disappoint. He took the kickoff return all the way back, a full 98 yards, to even the score again at 10-10.
With the prospect of overtime the Comets’ only hope, the Rangers casually ran down the clock, moved into position, and nailed the field goal to end it.
DeJesus ended the night with 122 yards. Cooper Cotterill carried the ball 19 times for 67 yards, while Alec Platz had 25 yards on six catches.
Defensively, Harris and Cotterill combined for three interceptions on the night. Austin Stierhoff, Todd Hastings, Camden Haslage, and Matt Lee combined for five sacks.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Junior Hunter Gibson chases down Lakewood quarterback Jack Witri in the third quarter. The Rangers narrowly avoided overtime with a field goal kicked in the last second of regulation.