New London scores with 23.2 seconds left to stun No. 9 Killingly 25-24
New London — Kasi Fletcher, the athletic director flashing the 50,000-watt grin, summarized the whole night in three words:
"That Whaler magic," he said.
It was magical, indeed, the final minute of this game, when New London High School, left for dead minutes earlier, authored the biggest play on the turf of Cannamela Field in years.
Quarterback Owen George threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Frankie Pratts with 23.2 seconds remaining, completing a 13-point rally in the final seven minutes. The Whalers snapped No. 9 Killingly's 15-game win streak, earning a wild 25-24 win that touched off a celebration that hearkened the great old days of Whaler lore and legend.
"We didn't care where anyone was ranked," New London coach Johnny Burns said. "We felt good about what we had. The 14-0 (deficit) isn't what we wanted, but the resilience here speaks to our kids and coaches."
George, 15-for-26 for 260 yards, found Pratts yawningly open over the middle. Potts outran everyone else, turning the home sideline volcanic.
"We knew we had to relax and take it slow," George said. "But I was back there and I got punched in the mouth. Literally. It was a last-second thing seeing (Potts). What an amazing win."
Pratts: "Being a sophomore, I learned a lot behind Gio (Lopez) last year. When I caught the ball all I saw was green."
And to think that Killingly (2-1) was seven yards away from ending the game with seven minutes left. The Redmen led 24-13 and took over on downs at the New London 7-yard line, following Burns' gamble on fourth down.
But the Whalers forced a fumble two plays later. George later hit Richard Henry with a 25-yard touchdown pass to get the Whalers within five at 24-19.
"This hurts a lot," Killingly coach Chad Neal said. "One thing we didn't do during the (winning streak) is win down here. We had the ball (at the seven) and later all we had to get was a first down (with 2:45 left) and we didn't. Hats off to them. They wanted it."
Killingly ran to the 14-0 lead on two touchdown runs from Tyler Cournoyer. Jacob Commander's 30-yard touchdown ran brought the Whalers (2-1) within a touchdown before George hit Zehki Burgis with an 81-yard touchdown pass late in the first half to make it 14-13.
Luke Desaulnier's 26-yard field goal gave the Redmen a 17-13 lead at halftime.
Commander finished with 196 rushing yards.
"He gave us fits," Neal said.
Cournoyer had 143 rushing yards and Nsaiah Harriet finished with 129.
"We had a hard week here," George said. "We didn't play well last week, we had some kids and coaches dealing with things. But he stuck together."