football Four real
DANBURY — There might not be a game like that in Danbury for quite some time.
WestConn football coach Joe Loth has praised his squad’s resilience all season to emerge from tough situations stronger on the other side. That was shown in spaces when the game seemed lost Saturday, and his team will never encounter a game like it faced ever again.
Kyle McKinnon’s two-point conversion in the fourth overtime broke a 48-48 tie and sent the Colonials to a wild 50-48 win over Bridgewater State on Saturday night. WestConn kept its dream season going — and stayed atop the MASCAC standings — at 7-0 with three games to play.
There were several moments when the lights threatened to turn out on the Colonials’ season, the dimmest of which came in the first overtime with the game tied at 34-34. An extra point after a touchdown run from Nick Santavicca was all that separated Bridgewater from claiming the win, but the Colonials came up with the block — after the visitors switched kickers between timeouts — to force double overtime.
“There were so many ebbs and flows to a game like this emotionally,” said WestConn coach Joe Loth. “You’re up and down and it’s hard to explain. There’s points where you think we’ve got this game and points where we have no chance to win this game.”
The teams traded interceptions — Bridgewater’s snare could have ended the game but the defender fell down on a potential return — in the second overtime, before each scored touchdowns and two-point conversions in the third extra session. Will Daniels came up with a crucial fourth-and-10 juggling catch to start the third overtime on the right foot.
An 18-yard reception to Nick Kimball got the Colonials close in the fourth session and McKinnon’s fourth rushing touchdown of the day tied the game after Bridgewater took a 48-42 lead. McKinnon’s number was called again from the wildcat formation and after some contact in the backfield, he powered through to send the homecoming crowd into euphoria.
“The coaches were talking and they were like ‘It’s time for you to close the game,’ ” McKinnon said. “It was the moment I’ve waited for my whole life. You live for moments like these.”
“I think he’s the best running back in the conference and one of the best in the country,” Loth said. “We had a discussion on Thursday, if we have to win this game with a two-point play, let’s put the ball in Kyle’s hands.”
All of which came after Bridgewater narrowly missed a 45-yard field goal with time expiring in regulation.
Colonials quarterback David James finished the wild day 24 for 45 with 402 yards and three touchdowns. McKinnon had 20 carries for 73 yards.
STRONG IN DEFEAT
Santavicca was a horse in the backfield for the Bears, carrying the ball 42 times for 196 yards and three scores.
Bridgewater scored 21 points in the second quarter to snatch a 21-14 lead that increased to 28-14 in the third quarter. The Bears held the two-touchdown lead and the football on multiple occasions but couldn’t pull away as the Colonials defense stiffened in the second half.
“I thought when it was 28-14 our defense started playing really well in the second half,” Loth said. “We didn’t change any calls, we just started playing a little bit better.”
McKinnon scored with two minutes left on the clock to tie it at 28-28 and force overtime.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Austin Calamita, WestConn: Finished the game with eight catches for 164 yards and a 57-yard touchdown in the third quarter to spark the comeback.
Several university Hall of Famers were honored during a halftime ceremony. Adam Kennett, Melissa Teel, Conor Bierfeldt, Kim Lynch, Matt March, the 2002 softball team and Bill Walton were all inducted in a ceremony Saturday night.
BRIDGEWATER STATE 48 (4OT)
BRIDGEWATER0 21 7 0 6 0 8 6 — 48
WESTCONN7 7 0 14 6 0 8 8 — 50
W—Kyle McKinnon 1 run (Jordan D’Onfrio kick)
B—Jake Lavanchy 19 pass Stefano D’Emilia (Jacob Crear kick)
B—Nick Santavicca 1 run (Crear kick)
W—Austin Calamita 57 pass David James (D’Onofrio kick)
B—Travis Bassett 1 pass D’Emilia (Crear kick)
B—Bassett 70 pass D’Emilia (Crear kick)
W— Lucas DeSouza 33 pass James (D’Onofrio kick)
W—McKinnon 8 run (D’Onofrio kick)
W—Will Daniels 30 pass James (kick blocked)
B—Nick Santavicca 7 run (kick blocked)
W—McKinnon 8 run (McKinnon run)
B—Santavicca 2 run (D’Emilia pass Santavicca)
B—Bassett 7 pass D’Emilia (pass failed)
W—McKinnon 1 run (McKinnon run)
Records: Bridgewater 5-3, WestConn 7-0.