By ALLIE COLOSKY
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Montgomery turned to Logan Francavilla to build an early lead Friday night at Cardinal Newman and then again on the game’s final play — a 5-yard run in overtime that gave the Vikings a 31-25 victory against their longtime North Bay League rivals.
“Craziest game I’ve ever played in my life,” said Francavilla. “We just kept trying to take the ball to them and keep pounding them.
Francavilla finished with 40 carries for a game-high 162 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings. It was the first win for Montgomery against Cardinal Newman since 2009.
The game left both teams at 1-1 in league games, one game behind Casa Grande, which improved to 2-0 Friay night with its win at Santa Rosa.
“I figured if we could stay with them for four quarters and keep their offense off the field, we had a pretty good chance of controlling the clock and coming out with the win,” Vikings first-year head coach Dean Haskins said.
The Vikings dominated the first half and took a 6-0 lead on Francavilla’s 14-yard run and increased the advantage to 12-0 on a 6-yard run by Henry Stelzner.
Trent Klein’s 25-yard field goal got Newman on the scoreboard for the first time, but Montgomery kept Newman from adding to that through the rest of the half.
“We played bad in the first half,” Newman head coach Paul Cronin said, “but our kids did a really good job and we’re really proud of how they played in the second half.”
Cardinal Newman began to narrow Montgomery’s advantage when quarterback Keaton Dunsford found Zach Stoltz for the Cardinals’ first touchdown.
The Vikings responded again by turning to Francavilla, who ran 14 yards to the end zone at the end of the third quarter and, after the third missed extra point try for Montgomery, the lead was 19-10.
The Cardinals responded the Dunsford hooked up with Dylan Kolman on a 25-yard scoring pass.
Again Montgomery drove down the field and RJ Flores’ 1-yard scoring run pushed their lead back to 25-17.
“I’ve never beat Newman my whole high school career,” Francavilla said. “I like being the underdog.
“You get to prove everybody wrong.”
But Cardinal Newman wasn’t ready to call it quits.
On the kickoff after Flores’ touchdown, Kevin Lucey brought it all the way back, 90 yards for a touchdown, and he caught the two-point conversion pass from Dunsford to make it 25-25 with 2:46 remaining in the game.
Lucey wasn’t finished.
He intercepted a pass on the ensuing Montgomery possession and Dunsford was able to drive Newman deep enough into Vikings territory to set up a 30-yard field goal try with less than 30 seconds to play. But the kick missed, sending the teams to overtime.
Cardinal Newman could not capitalize on its four plays from the 10-yard line to start the overtime and then watched as Francavilla scored the winner on a third-and-goal play from the 5.
“The kids worked hard to compete their assignment,” Cronin said. “We couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The win was overwhelming, Haskins said, and Francavilla said couldn’t think past the rush of adrenaline that beating the Vikings’ longtime rival for the first time gave him.
“To win in overtime,” Francavilla said, “it just feels so awesome.”