Portsmouth upsets Eagles’ perfect football season
Barrington High School’s undefeated football record was marred in its last regular season game when Portsmouth High School did something the Eagles couldn’t do on Friday night – connect on an extra point attempt.
The heartbreaking loss for the Eagles was an exuberant win for the Patriots in a game that went scoreless throughout four quarters of regulation time and endured while the two teams took possession in double overtime, where the Patriots beat the Eagles 7-6.
It appeared that the Eagles were in for an uncharacteristic struggle when, on the opening kickoff return, Rosindo Chiulli fielded the ball only to be knocked to the ground by teammate, Jake DeMarco at the Eagles’ 25 yard line.
For the next 48 minutes of regulation play, both teams engaged in a gridiron battle that was well played defensively, if not stellar on offense.
Both teams struggled in penalties, with flags thrown at least 18 times during the 48 minutes of regulation, and two more flags thrown in over time.
When time ran out with 0-0 on the scoreboard, each team was given 4 downs starting at the 10 yard line to execute a touchdown drive. After eight unsuccessful attempts, the game went into its second overtime with 4 more downs allowed.
Portsmouth’s quarterback Matt Sewall looked to running back Travis O’Brien who gained the Patriots significant yardage throughout the game, for a scoring attempt. Unsuccessful in two downs, Sewall hung on to the snap and charged in, giving the Patriots a 6-0 lead, then 7-0 when Andrew French added the extra point kick.
With the game on the line, Barrington fumbled the ball on their first down and recovered it for a gain of about three yards. Two plays later, quarterback Matthew Rota completed a pass to Jake Slye who was immediately taken down by Portsmouth’s Colin Tullson at the 2 yard line.
On fourth down, J.R. Martin muscled his way through the Patriots defense to make the score 7-6.
Rather than go for the extra point kick that could tie the game for a third overtime, the Eagles came out of the huddle wanting to try a 2 point conversion for the win.
However a bad snap and a mishandle caused Rota to drop the ball before being able to make a play. Rota recovered the football off balance and the game ended at 7-6 after the Patriots downed the fallen Eagle.
“This was a tremendous game,” said Portsmouth head coach Ryan Moniz. “We kept our composure and we stayed focused.”
Patriots quarterback, Matt Sewall, who took some violent hits from Barrington’s big defensive players, said he couldn’t put into words what the win, especially on the school’s senior night, meant to him.
“I am proud of my guys,” he said of his teammates who brought the hard earned victory to Portsmouth. “We’re going to stick through this to the end.”
Barrington head coach Bill McCagney knew what to expect from the Portsmouth team going into the game.
Portsmouth’s 5-2 record didn’t mean that the undefeated Eagles would not have a contest.
“We know the teams. We knew what to expect,” he said of the stalemate on the field.
While going for a tie in the second overtime could have given the Eagles another shot at victory, Mr. McCagney never even considered a tie as an option.
“On the road, we’re going for the win,” he said of the conversion attempt, keeping the loss in perspective. “The sun will come up tomorrow.”