The football kept rolling and rolling and rolling.
The Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs had just scored in overtime to take a 26-20 lead over the Wyandanch Warriors on Friday night under the lights at Harold T. Murray Memorial Field in Riverhead.
Wyandanch had one last chance to have the ball and the Warriors were driving near the goal line when McGann-Mercy’s Ray Ellis and Ryan Heppner crunched quarterback Damon Gray. The football popped out of Gray’s hands and rolled on the ground.
McGann-Mercy Coach Joe Read said the ball kept rolling for what seemed like an eternity. But McGann-Mercy’s Ryan Heimroth finally fell on the ball, sealing a long-awaited victory.
The Monarchs had a thrilling 26-20 triumph. Pandemonium filled the McGann-Mercy sideline.
“It was an amazing moment,” said Read, whose team is 1-2 in Suffolk County Division IV. “It truly was never say die on the field. Once we got into overtime, I felt we were going to win. But we needed that good stop to get it.”
It was McGann-Mercy’s first win after 11 straight losses, dating back to the Monarchs’ playoff loss to the Babylon Panthers in 2008.
“Our record doesn’t show it, but our kids really keep coming back,” Read said. “We were down, 20-6, and we kept coming and kept coming. It was no secret, we were in trouble, but we pulled it together.”
Wyandanch (1-2) exploded to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on touchdown runs by Gray (25 yards) and Tashawn Donaldson (15 yards). But after getting the ball pounded down their throats early, the Monarchs settled down and got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter. McGann-Mercy drove 75 yards, with the march being capped off by Robbie Terry’s three-yard touchdown run up the middle.
The energized McGann-Mercy defense stopped Wyandanch at midfield. On a fourth- and-1 play on the Wyandanch 40-yard line, Terry had the ball stripped from his arms by Matt Nunez, who rumbled 62 yards for a touchdown and a 20-6 lead.
McGann-Mercy’s deep kickoff to start the third quarter pinned the Warriors deep in their own territory. Ellis forced a fumble, and two plays later Monarchs quarterback Keith Schroeher hit D. J. Wilmott with a beauty of a pass down the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown. Schroeher ran in the two-point conversion, trimming Wyandanch’s lead to 20-14.