On an afternoon forecasters said could be the sloppiest of the football season to date, East Boston not only lucked out with mostly dry weather, it was also spared by Latin Academy's missed field goal as time expired.
“Like they say you’d rather be lucky than good,” East Boston coach John Parziale said after the 16-15 victory that was moved to Charlestown from White Stadium because Charlestown has artificial turf and White Stadium has natural grass that does not hold up well in hard rain.
After driving the ball almost the entire length of the field in the final two minutes, Latin Academy’s last second, 20-yard field goal by senior Alex Guerrer sailed wide left and gave Eastie (3-4) the game.
The field goal attempt was Guerrer’s first of the season and the first for Latin Academy (4-3).
“It was lined up on the right hash and I just tried to pull it to the left, I just pulled it to the left too much,” said Guerrer, a wide receiver who also finished the day with 117 yards receiving and a 2-point conversion catch.
“The pressure wasn’t really in my head. I just pulled it the left a little bit too much.”
After East Boston took a 16-15 lead in the third quarter, Latin Academy’s 12-play drive stalled at the 7-yard line when Guerrer caught the ball in the left corner of the end zone but was called for offensive pass interference.
Eastie went three-and-out and the game looked like it was nearly clinched for Eastie when Latin Academy’s next drive ended with junior quarterback Kyle dance getting sacked by sophomore defensive end Orlandino Gray.
The Jets took over on the 46 and marched all the way to the 3-yard line, where they fumbled it away with 1:40 left.
But East Boston looked like it clinched the game again when sophomore defensive back Kevin Sinatra got an interception on the first play of the Dragons’ final drive. But pass interference was called and Latin Academy got the ball back at the 21. Two plays later, Dance escaped a sack and ran close to the first down marker before he was drilled in the head.
A flag was thrown for helmet-to-helmet contact and Latin Academy advanced to the East Boston 40.
Dance’s 17-yard pass to junior wide receiver Christian Yuen (who also caught a 3-yard touchdown to put LA up 15-8 in the third quarter) and Dance’s own 18-yard scamper put the Dragons on the 6-yard-line before they missed the field goal four plays later on fourth-and-goal.
“Man, I said ‘Boys, this is the last play, you better play like its’ the Super Bowl,’” East Boston senior running back and defensive end Leroy McPherson said. “I said ‘All you seniors out here better pretend it’s fourth down of the Super Bowl game, rush in there, put your hands up and give it all you got cause we worked too hard for this.’”
McPherson also had what turned out to be the winning touchdown on a 61-yard run in the third quarter.
He also broke up a pass to Guerrer in the right corner of the end zone on Latin Academy’s final drive and he had a key 10-yard run for a first down in the Jets’ final offensive possession.
“I tell my line all the time ‘Kiss the baby because I got you, when you give me the ball just hit somebody and we’ll make it happen,’” he said. “‘Don’t look for me, just look for the next person to hit and we’ll make it happen.’”
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