MANCHESTER —Burr and Burton football took Essex down to the wire on Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs, facing a two point deficit, trotted kicker Justin Maier out onto the field for a 37 yard field goal attempt with one second on the clock.
Burr and Burton coach Tom McCoy has total faith in his senior kicker.
“He kicks them from 45 yards in practice pretty consistently and accurately,” McCoy said.
Essex coach Marty Richards decided to ice Maier by calling his last time out prior to the kick.
With both teams back on the field, Essex defensive lineman Peter Armata applied pressure from the left side of the line and Malakai Valgean got his hand on the ball, blocking the kick and securing the 29-27 win for the Hornets.
“We probably make eight out of 10 with Justin,” McCoy said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the kick off, but I would have been anxious to see where it went. I would have put my money on Justin making it.”
Essex quarterback Ben Serrantonio had himself a day, scoring all four touchdowns for the Hornets. The QB had two scores through the air and two on the ground.
BBA was surging in the second quarter, playing its best football of the day. After Serrantonio punched in a 17 yard touchdown on a fourth down run, backup Bulldog running back Liam Bradley evened the score with a 21 yard touchdown of his own.
On the ensuing Essex possession, a false start penalty and a sack put Serrantonio in a 2nd and 20. The QB was pressured on the next snap, too, and his pass attempt was intercepted by Warren McIntyre.
The Bulldogs didn’t waste any time capitalizing on the turnover, as Haiden Jones took a handoff from 13 yards out and found the endzone, giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the afternoon with just over five minutes left to play in the first half.
Jones had a huge game for BBA on the ground. He carried the ball 16 times for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
McCoy said BBA’s line play and Jones’ running ability have been a bright spot for the Bulldogs so far this year
“I’m really happy with our offensive line and I’m really happy with how Haiden runs the ball,” McCoy said.
Essex once again backed themselves up on the following offensive drive, with two first down penalties putting themselves in a first and 20 situation.
Serrantonio tried to find a receiver at the chains on the next play, but Tor Mjorell jumped the route and gave the Bulldogs the ball with great field position once again at the 40 yard line.
The Bulldogs offense capped a 7 play drive off with a seven yard touchdown run by Nate Smilko on a jet sweep. BBA took a 21-7 lead with just 96 seconds left in the first half, and suddenly had all of the momentum.
Serrantonio and the Hornets responded to the adversity with a huge eight play, 80 yard scoring drive right before the half ended. Serrantonio found Malakai Valgean for a 25 yard score with seven seconds left in the first half.
That halted the BBA momentum, and Essex received the ball to start the second half.
Serrantonio orchestrated a scoring drive that took only a minute and a half of the clock on the first possession of the second half. The Hornets elected to go for two to take the lead, and converted to take a 22-21 lead and completely flip the momentum back in Essex’s favor.
Essex scored on a missed tackle by a BBA defensive back on the final play of the third quarter to take a 29-21 lead.
BBA answered on its first play of the following possession, putting the ball in Jones’ hands. The running back found space on the left sideline and turned on the jets, winning a foot race to the end zone on a 76 yard rushing touchdown.
The Bulldogs went for two, but an attempt to Smilko fell incomplete.
BBA falls to 1-3 on the season. McCoy has seen improvement in his team week to week.
“I think that will keep getting better every week,” McCoy said. “If we get an opportunity to play some of these really good teams again down the road, hopefully we can give them a good game because we’ve improved in all aspects.”