BREWSTER, N.Y. – The Sleepy Hollow High School football team erased an 11-point deficit in the final 3:35 Saturday to stun Brewster, 24-21, and advance to the Section 1 Class A final.
Sleepy Hollow will face Somers in the final at Mahopac High School at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Sleepy Hollow quarterback Devin Lopez hit wide-open receiver Isaiah Sanjuan for the 51-yard go-ahead touchdown with just 27.9 seconds left. The Horsemen had gotten the ball down 21-18 with 36 seconds left and no timeouts after Brewster punted.
Sanjuan was as surprised as anyone when head coach Steve Borys called his number before the Horsemen took the field for that final play.
“I don’t know what it was. Coach was like, ‘Alright, 10,’” Sanjuan said. “In practice, that’s the only play they run to me. They called 10. I went out. They threw it to me. I caught it.”
Lopez, with tears of joy in his eyes and a raspy voice, said the final score was not at all like he expected.
“We were expecting a tough drive,” Lopez said. “Coach called All G and when he caught the ball it was pure joy. Pure joy.”
Sanjuan was the hero on another play just minutes earlier. Brewster led 21-10 with 3:35 left and backup quarterback Danny Chevere had thrown an interception to give the Bears the ball and, seemingly, the win.
But Sanjuan scooped up a Brewster fumble and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-18 after Lopez hit Dionel Infante in the end zone for the two-point conversion with 1:36 left.
Brewster could not pick up a first down on the ensuing series and punted, which set up the wild finish.
The Sleepy Hollow sideline erupted after the touchdown, while the Brewster faithful, who had been so loud and jubilant just moments earlier, fell silent.
“We almost all dropped dead,” Borys said. “It was great… I don’t know. I can’t even believe what just happened.”
The two teams finally met Saturday after numerous delays caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The game got contentious as flags flew on an unusually high number of plays and both sides trash talked the other after the whistle.
The first half featured sloppy football on both sides, but neither team could take advantage with more than one touchdown. Brewster committed two personal foul penalties for a total of 30 yards on one play and also fumbled twice. Sleepy Hollow fumbled once at the goal line and failed to score on another trip to the red zone.
The Horsemen led 7-6 at the end of the first half, their lone touchdown coming after a timeout, on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Lopez to Infante with 9:21 left in the second quarter. Sleepy Hollow had tried almost the same play just before that, but a wide-open Infante dropped the pass.
Still, the Horsemen did not give up on the plan. Borys said the team just flipped the play to the other side of the field and trusted the receiver.
“Dionel never drops a pass. I think it was his first drop in his life. Maybe he had one in kindergarten,” Borys said. “We love him and we were going to go right back to him and we did and it worked.”
Infante had another big play when he picked off Brewster’s Brian McNeill at the Horsemen’s one-yard line near the end of the third quarter.