What a way to start the season.
For the second year in a row, Cretin-Derham Hall and Totino-Grace opened the season facing each other. Last season Totino-Grace went on the road and beat the Raiders by one point. This year the teams needed extra time to determine a winner.
A fourth-and-goal touchdown followed by a walk-off, two-point conversion pass to gave the Raiders a dramatic 22-21 victory in Fridley.
The game could not have gotten off to a worse start for the visiting Raiders. They fumbled the opening kickoff to pin themselves deep, and then the third play from scrimmage resulted in a pick-six for TG senior defensive back Christian Morel.
The Raiders converted on a fourth and short near midfield, and the very next play quarterback Danny Callahan threw deep to Minnesota-commit Peter Udoibok who hauled in the pass to set up his team with a first-and-goal from the five-yard line. The Eagles’ defense stiffened, though, and forced the Raiders into a field goal that they could not convert.
The Totino-Grace defense played well most of the night but missed a coverage in the second quarter, and Callahan dropped a pass into the hands of a wide open Chris Walsh to tie up the game.
The Eagles’ offense was almost immediately in the red zone behind a nice run and then pass reception in the flat by senior fullback Charles Kamara. Facing a fourth down inside the 20, the Eagles’ lined up for a field goal attempt but a pre-snap penalty moved the ball back five yards. TG coach Jeff Ferguson pulled his field goal team off the field after the penalty, then saw his team convert the fourth-and-10 with a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Down by a touchdown going into the second half, the Raiders’ defense took over. They would not allow another regulation point. The Raiders’ offense would do just enough. Udoibok made his second huge play to tie the game. Despite double coverage, Callahan threw deep down the sidelines, and Udoibok beat both defenders for a 51-yard touchdown catch.
As the fourth quarter clock wound down, the Totino-Grace offense shifted into high gear and nearly won the game for the Eagles. With less than two minutes left in regulation the Eagles moved the ball to midfield, and then sophomore Luke Delzer broke a tackle and picked up thirty yards down to the twenty. The next play it looked like the Eagles were going to have a first-and-goal, but the Raiders forced a fumble to send the game into overtime.
With the ball first in overtime, Totino-Grace appeared to run the same play three times, with the third resulting in a score to give the hosts a 21-14 lead.
Cretin-Durham Hall struggled with the ball in the extra session, and faced with a fourth-and-goal from the 10. Callahan rolled to his left and threw – once again – to Udoibok near the front pylon. Udoibok caught it for the touchdown to pull within one. CDH coach Brooks Bollinger rolled the dice and went for two and the win.
“I wanted to go for two right away,” Callahan said.
The play call had Callahan rolling to his right. His pass found senior wide receiver Rajiv Redd near the goal line – and the win.
“Peter and Rajiv are both playmakers,” Callahan said. “On the touchdown, I saw Peter had a little bit of space, and I put it where he could get it, and he did.”
Bollinger summed up the night perfectly.
“As a high school football player, you don’t realize it at the time, but you don’t get many nights like this. A beautiful night, a great opponent, a great crowd, a tight game and to pull it out is something memorable for these guys.”