HYANNIS, Mass. – Trailing 14-12 to No. 1 Xaverian and facing a fourth-and-5 from the Hawks 15-yard line with less than two minutes to go, Chris Whidden had a choice: try to pick up the first down or trot out his place kicker for a 32-yard field goal try.
Barnstable place kicker Dereck Pacheco had already missed an extra point and a 28 yard attempt. And so the Red Raiders head coach called timeout and brought on his field goal unit.
Seconds later, the Red Raider faithful erupted as the 32-yard field goal split the uprights and proved to be the game winner in an emotional 15-14 comeback victory over No. 1 Xaverian, the fourth consecutive week that the top ranked team has been upset.
“Kicking to me, I learned from last year, is all about confidence,” said Pacheco. “You have to have confidence in yourself, just clear your mind.“
Barnstable quarterback Kristian Lucashensky had the team on his back in the fourth quarter, throwing for 90 of his 138 yards in the final period.
“This win has changed the morale of the team completely,” said Whidden. “Going back to BC High, once the opening kickoff was returned for a touchdown our morale was down. We have seen a change in what this team is about and you can see that in the last seven and a half quarters.”
Xaverian (2-1) scored with 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter after A.J. King came down with a 33-yard pass from Jake Ferrell (4 of 9, 99 yards), setting up a 5-yard touchdown run from senior Shayne Kaminski, giving the Hawks a 14-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But it was all Hayden Murphy (13 rushes, 51 yards; 4 catches, 50 yards) and Lucashensky after that.
Barnstable answered with a 10-play 69-yard drive that was capped off with an athletic 15-yard touchdown catch from Derek Estes. Lucashensky fumbled on the two point conversion and the score remained 14-12 with 6:38 remaining.
“With Kristian, he’s so good with putting the ball in a spot where it going to be caught or incomplete,” said Whidden. “Estes went up and made a play.”
The Red Raiders defense rose to the occasion and forced the Hawks to punt, giving Barnstable the ball at their own 39 with 2:21 left to play.
Two plays later, Lucashensky hit senior Colby Blaze down the right sideline for a 39-yard gain down to the Xaverian 15-yard line. Barnstable picked up five yards before calling on Pacheco for the game winning field goal.
Meanwhile, Kaminski was a force all game, rushing for a game-high 135 yards on 20 carries. He drew first blood with 4:16 remaining in the second quarter when he was on the receiving end of a 54-yard screen pass.
The Hawks got a scare midway though the fourth quarter when Kaminski stayed down after a three-yard rush. Kaminski limped off the field under his own power but the following two plays resulted in fumbles and the drive ended with a punt.
The turning point: With 1:28 remaining in the second quarter and already up 7-0, the Hawks A.J. King fair caught a punt at his own 19-yard line. On the next play, Kaminski coughed up the football and the Red Raiders recovered at the 25-yard line.
On the next play, Lucashensky found Colby Blaze on a deep slant across the middle so give the Raiders some life heading into the half.
“It swung momentum going into halftime,” said Whidden. “Our halftime was full of life and the kids were excited.
While Xaverian had the only scoring in the third quarter, the Raiders defense had a jump in their step. On a punt midway through the third quarter, Junior Clyde Perry broke through the line and partially blocked a punt.
The defense forced two fumbles in the fourth quarter and while they didn’t recover, stalled out the Hawks offense. Xaverian only mustered up 26 yard off offense in the final quarter (266 in first three quarters), compared to 114 from the Red Raiders.
The Hawks were uncharacteristically sloppy all game. Xaverian had two turnovers and put the ball on the ground three times. They were also called for six penalties for 50 yards, including a big pass interference call on the opening drive and a huge personal foul on the Raiders first possession of the fourth quarter.
The final drive: With the opportunity to knock off the top team in the state for the second year in a row (Everett, 2012), Lucashensky took the field like it was any other drive.
When he stepped into the huddle trailing 14-12 on his own 39-yard line and 2:21 to play he calmly addressed his teammates.
“On the first play, I came to the huddle and said ‘listen, we got to win this game, got to win this game,” said Lucashensky. “They all looked me in the eye and shook their heads.”
Lucashensky called his own number on the first play, picking up two yards. On second and 8, he found Blaze who had his man beat for a 39 -yard gain, already in field goal range.
“We had run that earlier with Blaze and got him over the top, said Lucashensky. “So we knew if we needed a big play we’d come back to it. And we went over the top of the safety and I rolled out and hit him. He was wide open.”
Barnstable went conservative for the next three plays. Hayden Murphy rushed up the middle for two, an incomplete screen pass and Murphy to the left for three set up fourth and 5.
“We ran the toss because he likes to kick from the left hash,” said Whidden. “We ran the toss and if he (Murphy) broke he broke it if not were on the left hash for him to kick it.”
Pacheco split the uprights on the next play to polish off the perfect drive and improve Barnstable to 2-1 with New Bedford up next.
Perfect time for a bye: When Barnstable’s schedule was released this summer, Chris Whidden was unsure how a Week 2 bye week would effect his. As it turns out, that bye week seems to have saved the Red Raiders season.
The Raiders were dismantled by Dennis-Yarmouth, 37-9, in Week 1 and BC High returned the opening kickoff back for a touchdown in week three. Since then, Barnstable has been a different team.
“The bye week let us get back to square one to really break down what wasn’t working and why it wasn’t working,” said Whidden. “And we had film to prove it. That bye couldn’t have come at a better time.
Coming off two huge victories, teams will be gunning for Barnstable, starting next week at New Bedford. With Friday night’s win, the Raiders will almost certainly jump back into the Top 25 poll.
“It puts a target on our back just like we had one last year,” said Lucashensky. “Now its back, a big fat bull’s-eye.”
Barnstable 15, Xaverian 14
X 0 7 7 0 --14
B 0 6 0 9 --15
X-Shayne Kaminski 54 pass from Jake Farrell (Matt Rogers kick) 4:16
B-Colby Blaze 25 pass from Lucashensky (kick fail) 1:17
X-Kaminski 5 run (Rogers Kick) 0:10
B-Derek Estes 15 pass from Lucashensky (run fail) 6:38
B-Dereck Pacheco 32 field goal 1:28