Ridge Community's 2-Point Gamble Falls Short at End, 29-28
Fri. November 23, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
Ridge Community Bolt Shykeem Pitts runs with the ball against the Osceola Kowboys in Class 7A regional semifinals. (Photo by RICK RUNION | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS )
By SOLANGE REYNER
KISSIMMEE | Ridge Community's magical season looked like it would extend just a bit further Friday night when a scrambling Shykeem Pitts found Jamari Butler in stride down the left side of the field for a 65-yard gain with nine-tenths of a second left in a regional semifinal game against Kissimmee Osceola.
Butler shook a defender off after he caught the pass and scrambled into the end zone to make it Ridge 28, Kissimmee Osceola 29, with no time left on the clock.
A penalty by Osceola on the play pushed Ridge to the one-and-a-half yard line for the extra point attempt and Ridge coach Richard Tate made the decision to go for two.
"I wanted to go ahead and win this football game," Tate said, and he put the ball in the hands of junior E'Shawn Davis to do it.
The snap was good, the handoff from Pitts perfectly placed in Davis' gut. Then Davis stepped left and drove his feet forward, his cleats eating up the grass below him and his helmet pounding against Osceola's lineman.
He dove forward and stretched his body out, and it looked as though the ball barely crossed into the end zone. But the referees called it a few inches short, ending Ridge's fantastic season at 9-3 and extending Osceola's deeper run into the playoffs.
The game was mostly quiet up until the fourth quarter, when both teams traded blows in a spectacular, highlight-filled 12 minutes.
Pitts ran in a score at the start of it and then tossed a pass to George Rosell for two points to make it 15-all, the drive highlighted by a leaping 16-yard catch down the right side by junior Tyrell Smith.
Then James Farley, who helped stop Davis on the Bolts' two-point attempt at the end of the game, intercepted a lateral pass by Pitts on Ridge's ensuing drive and returned it 36 yards to put Osceola up, 22-15. That lead lasted for a little over three minutes as Ridge answered back on a touchdown run by Davis with 6:12 left. The key play on that drive was a 42-yard throw from Pitts to Rosell, a senior who was flanked by two defenders.
After three-and-outs by both teams, Osceola got the ball back with 1:56 left and marched 79 yards on the back of quarterback Daequan Harrison, who connected with Davante Small on a 15-yard pass in the left side of the end zone.
"We were playing cover 3 and the safety was too far in the middle," Pitts said. "The slot ran up the hash and made a good play."
That happened with 15.9 seconds left, a touchdown that put the Kowboys up, 29-22.
But Ridge answered back on that huge play by Pitts.
And then, it was time to decide.
"We just came up a little short," Tate said. "But these kids have nothing to be sad about. They played their butts off, played their hearts out. It was a tremendous effort, just a heartbreaker on that last drive."