One big play. That’s what Krop coach Tom Caporale needed and that’s exactly what he got.
With his team clinging to a 24-21 lead against Sunset in a GMAC Independent Conference semifinal playoff game, less than two minutes left and Sunset in the red zone, defensive end Giovanni Davis broke through to not only sack Knights quarterback Raymond Williams but stripped him of the ball.
Linebacker Jamari Randle did the rest, scooping up the loose ball and sprinting 83 yards to the end zone for the clinching score as the Lightning came away with a 31-21 win Thursday evening at Southridge Park.
With it now comes a berth in next week’s first GMAC Independent Conference Championship game. The Lightning (9-1), which finished second to Goleman in the north division of the conference, will get a rematch with those very same Gators next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Milander Stadium. Goleman, which defeated Reagan in the other semifinal, defeated Krop 46-21 in a regular season contest back on Oct. 15.
“I told our kids big time players make big time plays in big time games and they responded out there today,” Caporale said. “I’m just proud of them and the heart and true grit that they showed out there. We overcame a halftime deficit, some injuries and guys just stepped up and had each other’s backs.”
Krop trailed Sunset (7-3), finished first in the south division, 13-7 at the break but responded with a pair of touchdowns to take a 21-13 lead to the fourth quarter. After Sunset tied the game midway through the fourth, Daniel Ognev nailed a 30-yard field goal with just over four minutes left setting the stage for the game-clinching defensive play.
Quarterback Jacob Golan recorded a pair of touchdown passes in the second half both to junior wide receiver standout Davin Derival who enjoyed a career day with 188 yards receiving and the two touchdowns of 65 and 68 yards.
Said Caporale: “It shows the true culture change that we have built here at Krop and how our kids take pride in never backing down and always moving forward. We’re excited and thrilled to be playing in this first ever championship game and looking forward to another shot at Goleman. It should be a dogfight.”