Fenwick's thrilling victory over Gordon Tech Friday night at Chicago's North Park University came down to three heroic plays?#34;and a lot of redemption.
Junior Pat Mulhern's 18-yard field goal as time expired broke a 7-7 tie and evened the Friars' record at 1-1 on the young season. The kick also erased memories of Mulhern's miss on an extra point with slightly more than a minute left in a 7-6 home loss to Loyola last season.
The game-winning kick was set up by two remarkable passing plays in a span of about 24 seconds. With 17.1 seconds remaining in the game, junior wideout Nick Caldicott miraculously caught a 44-yard bomb from junior quarterback Dan Walsh. After a flurry of volleys, Caldicott tucked in the football as he fell on his back. This gave the Friars a fresh set of downs on the Rams' 23-yard-line.
"He tipped it first and then me and then him and then I scooped it up," said Caldicott. "I just saw [the ball] right there, in slow motion. So I caught it."
Two plays after Caldicott's catch, on second-and-10, Walsh connected with senior Eric Bradley, who caught the pass near the 10 and sprinted toward the end zone before being knocked out of bounds at the 1 with 3.4 seconds left.
Prior to these completions, the Fenwick passing game was a mere 3-of-12 for 33 yards on the game. Normally a linebacker, Walsh stepped in at quarterback in place of junior starter Brien Rooney, who sustained a concussion in last week's season-opening loss to Hubbard.
"We kept fighting and fighting and fighting, and we never gave up," said Friars coach Joe DiCanio. "Fenwick football just keeps playing hard no matter who we play, when we play."
Both teams combined for eight turnovers on the game, three for Fenwick and five for Gordon Tech (1-1).
A Fenwick fumble on its own 40 led to a Rams' touchdown six plays later and a 7-0 Gordon Tech lead with 5:57 remaining in the first quarter.
The Friars returned the favor when junior Dan Mega pounced on a loose ball at the Rams' 29 with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter and his team embarked on a nine-play TD drive capped by Walsh's 1-yard thrust past the goal line. Fenwick failed on its three previous attempts to reach the end zone from 1 yard out. Mulhern's kick tied the game at 7.
On their ensuing possession, the Rams drove 47 yards only to fumble the ball away on first-and-10 at the Friars' 23 on the final play of the third quarter. Fenwick senior linebacker Vincent Dorsey recovered the fumble, which came on a botched hand-off.
Gordon Tech turned the ball over on its third consecutive possession when Fenwick junior Austin Gordon intercepted a downfield bomb at his own 14.
The Friars begin Catholic League Blue play Friday at St. Rita (7:30 p.m. kickoff). It will be their third consecutive road game.