ROCKY HILL >> In a game that nearly had it all, it was the seemingly impossible that was the difference for No. 10 Bloomfield.
The Warhawks converted two fourth and longs in the fourth quarter and in overtime to defeat Rocky Hill 50-42 in front of an overflow crowd at McVicar Field on Friday.
Now, these weren’t just a pedestrian fourth down and six or anything like that. Bloomfield senior quarterback Dexter Lawson found Syracuse-bound receiver Russell Thompson-Bishop for 24 yards on a fourth-and-22 to take a 42-35 lead with under six minutes to play in the fourth.
The Terriers tied the game and nearly won it, but the Damon Lonero field goal was blocked as time expired in regulation. So in overtime, Lawson hit Thomas Norman on a fourth and 14 in overtime to take a 50-42 lead following a successful 2-point conversion.
“That’s all heart,” Lawson said. “I told them on the sideline we have to dig deep.”
Then it was the defenses turn to stop the Rocky Hill double wing one last time.
Joe Catania and Grant Nieves moved the ball consistently all night. But when it came down to a fourth and goal from the four in overtime, Catania was stuffed by a host of Warhawks defenders shy of the goal line.
“We condition real hard,” Bloomfield coach Ty Outlaw said. “So we knew it was going to be a dog fight. We knew if we could get to the fourth quarter, we thought we could pull it off and they got tired.”
Despite throwing the ball effectively in the first two games of the season, Rocky Hill quarterback Danny Cavallaro threw three interceptions Friday. But that didn’t effect Terriers coach Mark Fritz’s game-plan. He was going to go with the run regardless.
“That’s our offense,” Fritz said. “As much as people want us to throw the ball and do all the fancy stuff that you see on TV, we do it pretty well. When it came down to running it or throwing it, we run the football. That’s what we do, that’s what we did all game.”
Catania led the way for the Terriers with 254 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Nieves also had three scores.
“That offense is a great offense and Nieves is a great running back,” Outlaw said. “I think he’s one of the best running backs in the state. He runs this offense very well. We wanted to wear him down, so in the fourth quarter we could stop him.”
And that’s what Bloomfield did — to an extent.
Two of Nieves’ three TDs came in the second half, including the one that tied the game at 42-42 with 4:06 to play.
On the ensuing kick-off, Norman bobbled the kick, picked it up and got near midfield before fumbling. Rocky Hill recovered and just needed to run the clock down to give its kicker an opportunity to kick a field goal.
The clock stopped at 2.1 seconds and then rain started falling. Lonero lined up and Outlaw called a timeout. The rain intensified.
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“We went over field goal block,” Outlaw said. “We had it set up so I moved my receiver to the right side so I had two speed guys coming off the edge instead of one and it worked out.”
The field goal was blocked and the game went to overtime.
“It started raining so we thought it was a Warhawk flying by,” Outlaw said.
The Warhawks were able to escape with their second straight win over Rocky Hill putting them in great position for another Class S playoff berth.
“We were confident,” Fritz said. “My kicker’s made 45-yarders in game situations before and I had all the confidence in the world that he was going to get it up and if he got it up it was going through. They were close all night on the PATs and they got there on this one when it counted.”
Rocky Hill scored first, but Bloomfield answered. They traded touchdowns for the first four drives of the game.
“Coming out here and seeing the score go back and forth,” Outlaw said. “It was the greatest game ever.”
Bloomfield took a 20-14 lead with 9:12 in the second after Jhaki Gunter intercepted Carvallo leading to a 10 yard pass from Lawson to Thompson-Bishop.
Catania got the Terriers the lead back with 6:36 left in the second on a 1-yard run and then the Rocky Hill defense forced Bloomfield to punt, the only time of the game for either team.
After a 10 play, 80 yard drive, Nieves scored to make it 28-20 heading into halftime.
Rocky Hill stopped Bloomfield on the first drive of the second half and turned around and scored to make it 35-20, but then the Warhawks flew back.
Chris Rose caught a TD pass, Justin Antoine intercepted Caravallo which led to a Lawson touchdown run and on the next drive Lawson came up with another interception before leading his team on the 21-play drive resulting in the fourth and 22 conversion.
“A lot of teams don’t know him,” Outlaw said of his quarterback. “He’s very mobile. “He can throw, he’s our mini Cam Newton of Connecticut. He can really do some things.”
BLOOMFIELD 50, ROCKY HILL 42 (OT)
Bloomfield: 14 6 14 8 8 — 50
Rocky Hill: 14 14 7 7 0 — 42
(at McVicar Field, Rocky Hill High School)
RH — Joe Catania 20 run (Damon Lonero kick)
B — Dexter Lawson 1 run (Dante Manning kick)
RH — Catania 24 run (Lonero kick)
B — Ky;juon Butler 19 pass from Lawson (Manning kick)
B — Russell Thompson-Bishop 1 pass from Lawson (Thompson-Bishop rush failed)
RH — Catania 1 run (Lonero kick)
RH — Grant Nieves 15 run (Lonero kick)
RH — Nieves 2 run (Lonero kick)
B — Chris Rose 1 pass from Lawson (Jordan Pruitt pass from Lawson good)
B — Lawson 1 run (Manning kick missed)
B — Thompson-Bishop 24 pass from Lawson (Lawson rush good)
RH — Nieves 5 run (Lonero kick)
B — Thomas Norman 14 pass from Lawson (Lawson rush good)
Team records: Bloomfield 3-0; Rocky Hill 2-1.