Rider Over Old High
Cross-town rilvary ends dramatically with a last second field goal as time expired
November 2, 2015
On Oct. 2 Rider beat Old High with a last second field goal, leading to a score of 24-21.The victory served as redemption after last year’s 50-36 loss.
Senior kicker Brock Dowling made the 32-yard field goal as time expired increasing Rider’s all time record against Old High to 34-18-3. Early on, hopes were not looking great for Rider as Old High held the lead for over half of the game.
In the first half, Rider had more than a handful of crucial dropped passes to stick Old High with a 14-0 lead in the 3rd quarter.
Rider didn’t score a single point until the last two minutes of the 3rd quarter, only to miss the extra point making it 14-6 with Old High still in the lead.
At that point, fans were worried. One of those fans, Tommy Chhe, who can be seen and heard at every Rider game cheering on his school, but the first half of the game he didn’t know what to think.
“I just thought to myself ‘here we go again,’” senior Tommy Chhe said. “In the 3rd quarter I could feel my blood pressure rising.”
Even though Rider started slow the team put up 18 points in the 4th.
My favorite part was when the dance team was in the middle of a song and someone made a touchdown. Everybody stopped dancing and cheered.”
— Junior Maria Varela
“At halftime we had to realize that we weren’t playing together as a team,” running back Willie Phillips said. “Going into the second half we knew were going to have to take it one play at a time and catch the ball.”
With five minutes left in the game, Rider took the lead for the first time on a 31-yard touchdown ran in by junior quarterback Willie Cherry 21-14. Three minutes later, however, Old High tied it back up with a 9-yard run to make the score 21-21 with two minutes left in the game.
“I think we were ready and prepared the final two minutes,” Phillips said. “We practice the two-minute drill all the time at practice, so I think we knew what we had to do.”
Rider took the ball all the way down to their own 22-yard line only to spike the ball to stop the clock for the final 3 seconds.
“When they spiked the ball, I knew I was going to have to kick,” Dowling said. “I wasn’t too nervous; I think I do pretty good under pressure. At practice I will force myself to hurry, so I can prepare for situations like these.”
Dowling had missed the 12-yard extra point earlier in the 3rd quarter and now was setting up for the 32-yard game winner. Both sides of the stadium were packed and as the clock wound down; Old High’s fans went crazy.
“I was really nervous since I was the one having to hold the snap,” Phillips said. “I knew I couldn’t mess up the hold and I almost did, but I was able to regain control the last second.”
Dowling knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Nobody really said anything to try and calm me down,” Dowling said. “They just told me If I missed they’d kick my butt. I knew it wouldn’t be good if I missed, so I decided I’d just make it instead.”
The east side of the stadium went crazy after Dowling kicked the winning field goal to beat Old High as time expired.
“I couldn’t believe it” Chhe said. “Words could not explain how I felt after we won. It was amazing and I will never forget it.”