Raiders learn valuable lessons in 40-36 loss to Holy Cross.
TORRINGTON: There was a lot to take away from the Torrington football teams 40-36 loss to Holy Cross on Friday.
Some terrific, some not so much. Some brilliant, some head scratching.
The Raiders came within six yards of a comeback that would have ranked up near the top in team history but one final miscue sealed their fate as they fall to 1-5 on the year.
This one has to hurt more than a little.
Torrington roared out to a 22-6 lead behind some inspired play from quarterback Ora Curry and big plays by numerous Raiders and looked for all the world to be on their way to their second win of the year.
Then it happened.
After a 39-yard touchdown burst by senior Dylan Myrie put the home team up by 16 with 3:26 left in the half, the Raiders were called for an unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting before the two-point conversion try.
Not only did they miss the chance to go up by a 24-6 score but what they did for the visitors was even worse. They motivated a down team. They got them fired up.
It showed on the ensuing kickoff which was returned 87-yards for the score that started the massive momentum switch.
Cross would score again with :16 second left in the half to pull within three at 22-19 and owned all the momentum going into half time.
After missing a golden opportunity on their opening drive, set up by a great return by senior Dylan Myrie that gave them a first and goal from the Crusaders eight, the Raiders held Holy Cross and forced a punt.
Starting at their own 45-yard line, Curry engineered a 10-play drive that included a key fourth down conversion by the junior signal caller and a 17-yard pass completion to Brandon Reiff that gave them a first and goal from the one.
Curry would push through the final yard for the games first score.
Another big play led to a two-touchdown lead for the home team as junior Tyler Finkler took off on a 60-yard run as the first quarter came to a close.
Four plays later, after Curry had drawn the Crusaders offsides for the second time in the game giving the Raiders a first and goal from the 10-yard line, the junior signal caller got the next nine yards on a pair of runs before Myrie went in from a yard out.
Holy Cross answered with a 72-yard, nine play drive that put them on the board, down 16-6.
John Pasko came through and blocked the extra point attempt and the Raiders were up 10.
All the momentum was at this point with the home team until they got a little ahead of themselves and unintentionally fired up their opponent after the Myrie score.
You could sense things were changing as the two teams began the second half.
After stopping the Crusaders on their opening drive of the second half, a turnover by Myrie led to the visitors taking the lead for good on a 4-yard touchdown run by Alessandro Ward.
Ward would strike again midway through the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown burst and after a 60-yard touchdown pass from Corey Fappiano to DeAndre Wallace, the bottom had fallen out on the Raiders to the tune of giving up 34 straight points.
It could have gotten even uglier, but here's where the Raiders grew up a bunch by not folding up their tent and heading home.
Late in the second quarter, Curry had attempted a pass over the middle to a wide open Pasko who could not hold on to what may have been a score.
The duo picked a good time to try it again early in the fourth quarter and the play went for 55-yards and a score.
Suddenly, after all hope seemed lost, the Raiders were back in this one at 40-30 after a Myrie two-point conversion.
With 10:11 to play in regulation, the visitors took over, looking to run the clock and add some insurance but a huge sack by Anthony Valentin on Fappiano on third down forced a fourth down try by the Crusaders that failed.
Torrington took over with 5:12 to play with the ball on their own 21-yard line.
A Curry to Myrie pass went for 69-yards and three plays later, Curry hooked up with Reiff from 13-yards out and the home team had miraculously come back from down 18 to trail by just four at 40-36.
Again, the Raider defense held Cross off the board but the drive stalled after an intentional grounding forced the Raiders to work from their own five-yard line.
Cross took over on the Torrington 28-yard line, seemingly about to put the game away but an inspired Raider defense gave the offense one more shot, albeit from their own 20-yard line with 86 ticks left on the clock.
Myrie gained 25 on first down. Curry found Valentin for 36-yards to the Cross 29 and the possibility of a win was in the air. On first down, Curry connected with Finkler, who made a diving catch at the Cross one-yard line.
13-seconds remained on the clock.
First and goal from the one. Time for maybe a quick pass and then a run but the Raiders were flagged for taking too much time, a delay of game penalty was called.
The ball was moved back to the six-yard line and though Myrie did his best to try and break free on the final play of the game, he came up seven yards short and the game was over.
Lots of lessons for the Raiders to learn from this one.
They showed a great deal of heart in coming back but suffered from celebrating far too early which led to them having to come back in the first place.