In a game featuring four blocked kicks, minimal offense and an overtime period, Good Counsel quarterback Andres Castillo figured it best to leave nothing to chance when he lofted a pass toward the end zone during overtime of Saturday’s dual with St. John’s.
The conviction behind the junior’s throw, however, left his target, Keon Paye, unsure of his chances to make a play, forcing him to shift off his initial route, rotate his head over his opposite shoulder and overextend his limbs for the 30-yard touchdown catch.
Paye paid a price, straining his hamstring on the play, but the catch was worth the pain as it lifted the No. 2 Falcons to a 20-19 overtime win against the No. 11 Cadets in Northwest.
“It was a read-type play, and I really didn’t think I was going to make it to the ball,” Paye said while lunging sideways to stretch out his aching tendon. “But Andres threw a beautiful pass and I got it.”
The catch was one of several broken plays that ended up being the fix each team needed, constantly leaving the momentum up for grabs in the fight for first place in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
The performances by both teams’ defenses also played a part in the game’s wild nature. While St. John’s held Good Counsel to just 85 first-half yards, the Falcons (7-1, 4-0 WCAC) kept the Cadets from crossing onto their side of the field for the first 23 minutes.
Thanks to the Cadets’ 55 yards penalties in the first half, the Falcons were able to strike first on a two-yard Mohamed Ibrahim touchdown run in the first quarter. And when St. John’s (5-2, 1-2) did finally reach opposing territory, it was only after Ayron Monroe shook off one tackler and swooped under another before racing for an 80-yard score just before halftime.
Following this brief spark of offensive firepower, the defenses, again, dictated the contest. After a one-yard Castillo touchdown plunge midway through the fourth quarter, St. John’s blocked the Falcons’ extra point attempt to keep the score 13-7. Monroe then broke free again, this time into the Good Counsel backfield to block a punt and return it 25 yards for tying score with 71 seconds left in regulation — only to have Good Counsel force overtime by blocking the St. John’s extra point attempt.
Another blocked extra point by Good Counsel followed a Tyree Johnson one-yard touchdown run by St. John’s on its overtime possession.
Johnson almost thwarted the Falcons on defense by sacking Castillo on second down, but it only proved to set up Paye’s acrobatic catch and James Evans’ decisive extra point kick.
“I just tried to line up closer to the ball so I could get it off quicker,” Evans said. “It’s my second game winner of the year. The other one was a 40-yarder. This was just an extra point. But it’s still exciting.”