It would have been fitting if the play had some sort of sophisticated name. Or even if the MacArthur players had used the hand signals they were taught. It doesn’t and they didn’t, but those don’t mean it wasn’t magic for the Generals.
Quarterback Matt Cummings had a loaded right side that included standout Hugh Kelleher along the sideline. Instead he threw left to Justin DeMaria who got open behind the Calhoun defense. DeMaria made the leaping catch and sprinted to the end zone to finish the 55-yard score that tied the game with 2:08 left to play.
Generals’ placekicker Brian Carroll redeemed himself for earlier missing an extra point and pinged this one off the left upright and through. It proved the difference as MacArthur scored a huge 21-20 road win in a Nassau II football game.
“I saw it was going to hit the upright, but then it went through,” Carroll said. “What a great feeling.”
Both third-seeded Calhoun and MacArthur rolled into this conflict and both teams played well. However, though Calhoun got the big play in last week’s win over second-seeded Carey — a blocked extra point — the team had to watch it happen to them this time.
“Calhoun has a bunch of very good players over there, but our guys stayed strong,” Generals coach Bobby Fehrenbach said. “We were down just 7-6 at halftime. It wasn’t 28-0. And we have some pretty good players on this side too.”
MacArthur (3-0) pulled this out by immediately hitting back after a Colts score.
In the third quarter Calhoun grabbed a 14-6 lead on a 9-yard touchdown run by Tom Casimano. DeMaria returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a score and Kelleher ran in the two-point conversion to knot the score. In the fourth quarter, the Colts (2-1) went up on Ariel DeJesus’ 1-yard dive over the top but missed the extra point.
The Cummings-to-DeMaria touchdown was the first play of the ensuing drive.
“We have two very good pass-catchers in Kelleher and DeMaria. Kelleher gets more touches because he plays running back, but DeMaria is pretty special,” Fehrenbach said. “Putting Kelleher on the other side? He demands a defense’s respect.”
DeMaria said the play that came in from the sidelines required he and Cummings to pick his pass pattern. Usually they would do that with hand signals, but Cummings couldn’t be bothered. “He just said to me ‘go deep’ and that was the play,” DeMaria said.
“When I dropped back I saw it was him in one-on-one coverage and that’s what you want to see,” Cummings said. “I was glad that coach put the faith in the two of us to get the job done.”
Mike Langelotti had a 22-yard touchdown run for MacArthur. Calhoun’s DeJesus also had a 57-yard TD run in the in the second quarter.
There was some sense among the Generals that Calhoun might have been seen as the better team coming in. A year ago the Colts beat MacArthur in the regular season and playoffs. Cummings believes this win could change some impressions.
“It’s a big win and we made a statement with it,” he said. “The statement? We’re not a five seed.”