Late pass fuels win for St. Al|[9/30/06]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2006

Homecoming magic rubbed off on St. Aloysius Friday night as the Flashes rallied to a 16-15 win over Noxapater at Balzli Field.

St. Aloysius (4-2, 3-1 in Region 3-1A) got its game-winning score with 1 minute, 17 seconds left when Ryno Martin-Nez caught a 29-yard wingback pass from Harris Martin. The trick play converted a fourth-and-four and tied the game at 15-all. Jordan Muirhead then added the go-ahead PAT kick for the 16-15 advantage.

Pierson Waring sealed the win by intercepting Jeffrey Taylor’s pass at the Noxapater 40 with less than a minute to play.

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Senior fullback Alex Halinski pretty much summed up the big play that delivered the key region win for the Flashes.

&#8220It was beautiful. A beautiful pass for this game,” Halinski said. He led St. Al with 105 yards rushing off 19 carries and one touchdown.

Martin, a senior, had never thrown a pass in a game and his four previous attempts all came this week in practice.

&#8220We just put it in this week,” Martin said. &#8220I think I tried it four times this week. Ryno was just supposed to roll off his guy, but went long instead. This was a great win for us because that’s one of the toughest teams we’ll play. As a senior, you want to win your homecoming game.”

Martin-Nez, who had 53 yards rushing along with his big catch, said Martin’s pass was on target.

&#8220It was right on the money,” said Martin-Nez, a freshman who’s been limited this season because of a shoulder problem.

&#8220He’s had some nagging injuries and he’s a freshman and I want to be careful with him,” added St. Al coach Jim Taylor.

St. Al trailed 15-6 going into the fourth quarter. Noxapater (2-4, 2-2) took off nearly eight minutes of the clock in its opening drive of the second half. Two sacks and a 7-yard loss on a pass to the flat stopped the drive.

The Flashes defense stopped another fourth down play early in the fourth quarter to take over the ball at the St. Al 32.

From there, St. Al moved to the Noxapater 3 before facing a fourth-and-goal.

The Flashes opted for the field goal, which Muirhead nailed from 20 yards out to make it 15-9 with 6:29 to play.

Noxapater went three-and-out on its next possession and punted with the Flashes taking over at their 30 with 4:51 left. Martin gained nine to get the ball to midfield.

Chris Lewis then hit J.R. Burnett for a 13-yard gain to the Tiger 35. Three run plays gained six yards to force a fourth-and-four from the 29 with 1:22 left.

Martin appeared to be running on a wing counter but stopped and lofted a pass to Martin-Nez, who had beaten his man.

St. Al had a good drive late in the first quarter stopped at the Tiger 13. It took one play for Noxapater to get on the board when Taylor took a quarterback draw 87 yards for the score. Zavious Carter added the PAT kick for a 7-0 lead with 11:49 left in the half.

After a Lewis interception, the Tigers made it 15-0 when Rufus Nunn scored on a 33-yard run. Taylor then took a botched PAT snap and found Carter for the two-point conversion.

St. Al came back with a 15-play, 73-yard drive capped by Halinski’s 1-yard run with 1:43 left before halftime. Muirhead’s kick was shanked, leaving the score at 15-6.