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After playing three dominating quarters of football, Warhill watched a major upset slip out its grasp as Poquoson rallied from 16 points down to win 19-16 in double overtime Thursday night at Wanner Stadium.
Warhill, which entered the game winless over its first four games, played a stout defensive game against a Poquoson offense that has scored more than 40 points in half of its games this season.
After forcing Poquoson to go three-and-out on its first series of the game, Warhill's offense responded with a seven-play drive that was capped by a 25-yard touchdown run by Bryce Koob, who finished the game with 109 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
With Poquoson sitting on Warhill's 2-yard line in the second quarter, Poquoson running back Robert Henesey fumbled the ball forward into Warhill's end zone.
Warhill defensive back Logan Anderson picked up the ball and streaked down the left sideline for a 100-yard fumble return touchdown — or so he thought.
Unbeknownst to Anderson and the rest of the Warhill sideline, the play had been ruled dead to an official on the far side of the field blowing his whistle inadvertently. By rule, the officials nullified the play and replayed the down, much to the dismay of Warhill Coach Thad Wheeler.
"It was clearly a touchdown, [the officials] said. But because it was a fumble, they had to replay the down," Wheeler said. "That play took six points off the board."
While Warhill's defense kept Poquoson off the scoreboard following the ruling on the field, those lost points would come back to haunt the Lions.
On Warhill's next possession, the Lions strung together an 11-play drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Fletcher Whalen as time expired in the first half.
All the momentum appeared to be on Warhill's side coming out of the break. The Lions struck again when Collin Bright returned the opening kickoff of the second half 79 yards for a touchdown.
Warhill held a 16-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but that is when things began to unravel for the Lions.
A Poquoson drive that started with 3:42 left in the third quarter was capped off with a 15-yard touchdown run from Henesey with 11:29 left to play in regulation. A two-point conversion cut Warhill's lead in half.
Warhill stalled on its next possession and was forced to punt after a three-and-out. Henesey once again found running room and broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run with 8:30 left in regulation.
The Islanders again went for the two-point conversion and got bailed out by an athletic play from quarterback Trey Hicks. After taking the snap out of shotgun, Hicks rolled to his right, avoided a would-be tackler and flung the ball into the arms of Dylan Freeman, who was falling to the turf.
With the game knotted up at 16 apiece, both teams huddled up and prepared for overtime.
Poquoson got the ball first during the initial overtime period. On their second play of the drive, Henesey fumbled the ball and it was picked up by the Lions.
With Warhill needing any type of score to win the game, the Lions moved the ball to the 1-yard line and lined up for the game-winning field goal from 18 yards out.
The snap on the kick was high, forcing holder Ryan Creecy to reach up for the ball. The delay in getting the snap down allowed Poquoson's Freeman to break through the line and block the potential game-winning kick.
With neither team able to score in the first overtime, Warhill's offense took the field to start the second overtime period.
On Warhill's first play, Creecy rolled to his left on a speed option. Creecy attempted to pitch the ball to Bright, but instead saw it fall just short of Bright's outstretched arms. A nearby Poquoson defender took advantage of the situation and jumped on the ball.
Poquoson then did what Warhill could not — connect on the game-winning field goal. Chris Coccimiglio stepped up and booted an 18-yard field goal straight through the uprights to give Poquoson the win.
Visibly upset at the loss, Wheeler was still able to find the positives in Warhill's performance against a talented Poquoson team.
"This game shows tremendous character on their part. Anybody sitting here watching this game could see their heart," Wheeler said. "Our kids played their hearts out. They did a heck of a job. Some calls didn't go our way, but that's life and we have to overcome them."
Warhill (0-5) will look for its first win of the season when the Lions host Grafton Oct. 16.
Poquoson: 0 0 0 16 3 — 19
Warhill: 6 3 7 0 0 — 16
W: Koob 25 run (kick failed), 6-0
W: Whalen FG 33, 9-0
W: Bright 79 kickoff return (Whalen kick), 16-0
P: Henesey 15 run (Freeman pass from Hicks), 16-8
P: Henesey 38 run (Freeman pass from Hicks), 16-16
P: Coccimiglio FG 18, 19-16
First Downs: 11; 14
Rushes-yards: 35-168; 50-202
Comp-att-int: 6-12-0; 1-2-0
Passing yards: 83; 4
Fumbles-lost: 1-1; 2-2
Penalties-yards: 5-55; 6-37
Poquoson: Robert Henesey (13 car, 98 yards, 2 TDs), Matthew Blaser (4 rec, 92 yards)
Bruton: Collin Bright (19 car, 93 yards, kick return TD), Bryce Koob (19 car, 109 yards, TD)