Gilbert/Northwestern rallies from 14-point deficit to beat Ellington/Somers in OT

Gilbert/Northwestern’s Paxton Lewis-Franklin celebrates after scoring the game-winning touchdown in the Yellowjackets’ 20-14 comeback win over Ellington/Somers. Submitted Photo — Joe Ott

Gilbert/Northwestern’s Paxton Lewis-Franklin celebrates after scoring the game-winning touchdown in the Yellowjackets’ 20-14 comeback win over Ellington/Somers. Submitted Photo — Joe Ott

Yellowjackets' Paxton Lewis-Franklin runs past a Ellington/Somers defender to score the game-winning touchdown. Submitted Photo - Joe Ott

Yellowjackets’ Paxton Lewis-Franklin runs past a Ellington/Somers defender to score the game-winning touchdown.
Submitted Photo – Joe Ott

ELLINGTON >> In overtime, Gilbert/Northwestern completed one of the best comebacks in program history, coming back from a 14-0 deficit with seven minutes left in the game to beat Ellington/Somers 20-14.

After Nick Pedrolini intercepted Knights quarterback Joe Leslie, the Yellowjackets wasted no time ending the game, when quarterback John Lippincott faked a handoff to Tony Ortiz, driving the Knights defense to the left, and hit a wide open Paxton Lewis-Franklin, who took the screen pass and ran 10-yards into the end zone.

“Coach knew everyone would go to the other side,” said Lewis-Franklin, a junior. “Mitchell (Jackson) made a key block. I knew I had to score.”

Lippincott, who threw an interception with 20 seconds left, prevented his team from a chance to win the game in regulation, kept his head up and made the pass when he team needed it the most.

“He made a mistake at the end of the game and he doesn’t get down,” said Yellowjackets Head Coach Scott Salius. “He comes back and makes a great play for us.”

Salius was also very proud of his team’s ability to hang in the game after not being about to do anything until there was only seven minutes left.

“Just elation,” said Salius, on how he felt after the game. “The way we hung in there after nothing was going in the first half.”

After the Knights jumped out to a 14-0 lead, on two Leslie touchdown runs, in the first half against the Yellowjackets defense, who looked like they couldn’t stop anybody, the Knights weren’t able to replicate their success in the second half.

“Our ‘D’ came to play in the second half,” said Salius. “Aiden Tellier and Ryan Ott kicked it up a notch in the second half.”

Even though their defense was playing so well, the Yellowjackets still had trouble moving the ball against the Knights defense and Salius went to his bag of tricks to try and kick start the offense.

On third and 17 with a little more than seven minutes left in the game Salius called for wide receiver pass.
“We’ve worked on that play a lot in practice and we’ve begged coach to run it before in a game,” said Lippincott. “When he called it in, I had to do a double take and was like ‘did he really just call it?’”

Lippincott took the snap, threw a lateral pass to Pedrolini, who turned and threw to wide out Lewis-Franklin for a 43-yard touchdown, his second of the game.

“It was great pass from Lippincott,” said the senior receiver Pedrolini. “Once he caught it I was excited.”

Lewis-Franklin was wide open, with no Knights defender within 10-yards of him, and said he was telling himself not to drop the ball.

“I knew I had to catch that pass,” he said.

On the ensuing extra point, the Yellowjackets reliable kicker Joe Columbie missed, keeping the Knights lead at eight.

After another defensive stop, the Yellowjackets took over at its own 41 and had to go 59-yards to then have a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

On the third play of the drive, Lippincott found Seth Dayton, again wide open, for a 56-yard touchdown catch.

“We had some busted coverage late,” said Knights Head Coach Sean Byrne.

Now down by two, 14-12, Lippincott ran a sneak up the middle scoring the two-point conversion to tie to the game, setting up overtime.

Leslie rushed for 96 yards and his two touchdowns in the loss, which drops the Knights to 2-3 on the season, something Byrne is not happy about.

“We’re very upset, 2-3 is not where we thought we would be,” he said. “We were up 14 with seven minutes left.”

The Yellowjackets improve to 4-1 on the season and will have a bye this week before traveling to Canton on Oct. 26. They couldn’t be happier after the win.

“We got the bye week and now have two weeks to prepare for Canton,” said Salius. “We didn’t want to go into the bye with a loss.”

Gilbert/Northwestern 20 Ellington/Somers 14 (OT)
At Ellington High School
Gilbert/Northwestern 0 0 0 14 6 – 20
Ellington/Somers 7 7 0 0 0 – 14
Scoring plays: ES – 1-yard run Joe Leslie (XP good); ES – 2-yard run Joe Leslie (XP good); GN – 43-yard pass from Nick Pedorlini to Paxton Lewis-Franklin (XP no good); GN – 56-yard pass from John Lippincott to Seth Dayton (2-pt good); GN – 10-yard pass from John Lippincott to Paxton Lewis-Franklin.
Passing: GN – John Lippincott 6-17 136 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception; Nick Pedrolini 1-1 43 yards, 1 touchdown. ES – Joe Leslie 4-10 60 yards, 1 interception; Shane McGowan 0-3.

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