Hollis Brookline denies John Stark

Hollis Brookline’s defense came to play. The Cavaliers held John Stark’s offense scoreless until the final eight seconds of the fourth quarter, then watched the Generals break off a 93-yard touchdown on an impromptu hook-and-ladder play as time expired.

With no time remaining Stark (1-4) opted to go for the win and failed as HB (2-3) escaped with a 7-6 win in Division II action Saturday afternoon.

HB running back Matt Ferenczhalmy, who ran for 151 yards on 36 carries, including a 52-yard, first-quarter touchdown had given the Cavaliers an early lead they held until that final pass play of the game.

With a steady rain falling and trailing by seven with only 18 seconds left in regulation, Stark faced a fourth-and-long from their own 7-yard line. The Generals’ longest play of the afternoon had only gone for 11 yards. Things looked bleak.

With McQuarrie (13 of 33, 123 yards passing) in shotgun, the ball slipped out of his hands on the snap and skittered around on the grass for a moment before he was able to pick it up. He collected it just in time to see an HB defender charging in for the sack.

McQuarrie spun out of the would-be tackle and rolled out to his left. His pass hit Lief Mailloux directly in the chest at the 40, and Mailloux managed a few steps up field before being met by three defenders.

Just as the game appeared to be over, Mailloux, with the ball in his hands above his head, somehow spotted Adam King about 5 yards away. Mailloux, on his way to the ground, flicked King the ball and King was off to the races, going the last 60 yards untouched.

“I caught the ball and he was just standing right there,” Mailloux said. “It was my first instinct knowing that clock was running down.”

In a game that saw little from the Stark offense, suddenly it had gone 93 yards to put six points on the board and left no time on the clock. An extra point kick would tie it and force overtime, but Generals coach Jim O’Rourke had different plans.

O’Rourke rolled the dice and with momentum on his side, decided to keep his offense on the field for a 2-point conversion attempt at the win.

“I wanted to go for just one,” Mailloux said about the decision. “But, I mean, you want to win, right?”

McQuarrie handed the ball off to Philip Thibeault on a dive up the middle. A holed opened, Thibeault went in head first, and in a flash the hole closed. Thibeault strained forward but was taken down just shy of the end zone.

“There’s no regrets,” O’Rourke said. “We don’t regret that decision at all. The coaches talked briefly and said, ‘Yeah, let’s go for two. If we don’t get it, we don’t deserve it.’ We gave it our best shot.”

Hollis defenders stormed off in jubilation, while most of the Stark offense was stunned. As quickly as the game had changed, it was over.