In what could very well be a preview of this season's Turkey Day game, Friday afternoon's Academic Athletic Association showdown between Lincoln and Galileo high schools needed nearly every second of the game to be decided.
After Lincoln senior running back Davion Telfor bulled his way into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown, Mustangs head coach Phil Ferrigno was faced with a decision — play for the tie or go for the win.
Down 34-33 with 27 seconds left in the game, Ferrigno sent his offense back onto the field for the possible game-winning two-point conversion, however, there was an apparent miscommunication between quarterback Brandynn Nesby and fullback Tyree Marzetta on the play, and Galileo held on for a thrilling 34-33 victory.
“I was thinking a run was coming, and we better make a tackle,” said Galileo head coach Mark Huynh. “We made it. That [Lincoln] is tough.”
Galileo senior quarterback Kyle Nelson — who came into the game with 18 passing touchdowns and another five rushing — was 11-for-20 with 198 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Galileo senior running back Ronzel Fox ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns — including a go-ahead 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, helping the Lions (6-1, 3-0) remain undefeated in league play.
“In our heads, after Lincoln beat us the last two years, we wanted to make a statement,” Nelson said. “No disrespect to them because they're a great team, but we wanted to show them that we could play.”
Coming into the game, Galileo was averaging a whopping 51 points a game and it looked at one point like the Lions were going to blow it open on Friday.
Two minutes into the third quarter, Fox ripped off a 12-yard touchdown run to make the score 27-13 in favor of Galileo.
But Lincoln (2-4, 2-1) showed plenty of resolve and would rally behind the legs of Telfor and Marzetta.
Marzetta and Telfor combined to rush for 401 yards, with Telfor galloping for 233 yards and three touchdowns, and Marzetta adding 168 and a touchdown.
Telfor and Marzetta rushed Lincoln back into the game, scoring a touchdown apiece in the third quarter, helping the Mustangs knot the game at 27-27.
With the Lions' offense in a bit of a rut, it was their defense that helped Galileo win its sixth straight game. With 6:07 left in the game, Galileo stopped Telfor on a 4th-and-2 for no gain, and then with the game in doubt, took advantage of Lincoln's mishap on the game-deciding two-point conversion.
After the narrow loss, Ferrigno had no problem talking about the game, with the exception of that fatal two-point miss.
“I have no comment about [the two-point conversion]. That's a good team over there, but it is a little frustrating,” Ferrigno said. “I thought it was a really good game. We ran the ball all over the place and I'm proud of our guys. We just have to get a little better.”