Gators’ gamble pays off in win

Even with one of the city’s best kickers on the sideline, Green Valley coach Matt Gerber had decided before his team’s final drive started that he would not try an extra point.

His gutsy decision paid off as Quincy Bagsby ran in a 2-point conversion with no time left on the clock to lift the Gators to a 28-27 win at fifth-ranked Del Sol on Friday.

“You get into overtime, and it’s 10 yards and four downs, and anything can happen,” Gerber said. “We had success running the ball, and we felt that we could probably get one in (the end zone).”

The feeling was right.

“We’re so thankful” that Gerber decided to go for the win, Bagsby said. “We’re the best. We can’t be stopped when we put our minds to it.”

The conversion followed a 15-yard touchdown pass from Nick Libonati to Dallas Halasz. Green Valley (6-2, 4-0 Southeast League) drove the ball 60 yards in 45 seconds for the winning score.

On the final play, Libonati threw the ball up high in the corner of the end zone, and Halasz came up with it between two defenders, just getting a foot down in bounds.

“The play was to throw to whoever was open,” Halasz said. “He threw a great ball, and I just went up and made the play like it was designed.”

The score capped a hectic final three minutes.

Green Valley tied the score at 20 when Libonati completed a 25-yard TD pass to Skyler Holloway with 2:45 to play.

Del Sol (6-2, 3-1) came right back and recaptured the lead on a 4-yard TD run by Derek Eamon, who finished with 197 yards and two scores, with 45 seconds remaining.

Green Valley ran back the ensuing kickoff to the 25-yard line, but a personal-foul facemask penalty set up the Gators at the 40.

“There was a heck of a lot of pressure,” Libonati said. “But we practice that every day. I just had to tell myself to stay cool and hit the receivers. It was just an amazing moment, and I will remember it for the rest of my life.”

On the 2-point conversion, Bagsby ran right, then cut the ball upfield and crossed the goal line.

“I was planning on taking it to the edge, but I saw the hole and turned it up, and we won,” he said. “After that, it is all a blank. I just knew we won, and I’m so happy we did.”

Bagsby ran for 111 yards. Libonati was 11-for-26 for 243 yards and three scores.

Eamon and Earnest Hall each ran for two touchdowns for the Dragons, but a missed extra point by Vincent Griffith after Hall’s third-quarter touchdown proved to be crucial.

Green Valley, on the other hand, was as solid as ever in the kicking game.

Nolan Kohorst made first-half field goals of 50 and 46 yards, and all five of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

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