H.S. football: NFA keeps playoff hopes alive with 34-31 OT win over Bacon

Colchester — It would be an exaggeration to suggest that Norwich Free Academy, down a score with but 13 seconds left Saturday to Bacon Academy, had the Bobcats right where they wanted them.

But then, no other team in the Eastern Connecticut Conference has made the miraculous more mundane than the Wildcats this season.

For the second straight week, NFA rallied to win the game on the last play, edging Bacon 34-31 in overtime, keeping its Class LL playoffs hopes very much alive.

"It keeps us alive for the postseason," NFA coach Jason Bakoulis said. "The kids are very well aware of the situation."

NFA (6-3) trailed by eight in the fourth period at Fitch three weeks ago and found a way to win. The Wildcats were down eight with 2:48 to go last week against Killingly and won on the last play. And Saturday they were down a score late in the fourth quarter, facing a fourth-and-20.

That's when Max Pierre Louis' reception kept the drive alive. Andrew Cote's touchdown with 13 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime.

After NFA held Bacon to a field goal, Xavier Fonville's 4-yard touchdown run sent the Wildcats to victory.

"The schedule our athletic director (Roy Wentworth) gave us has allowed us to grow and develop," Bakoulis said. "Our coaches, every single day, set a high level of expectation in practice. And the kids have bought in."

NFA, which occupies the eighth and final spot in the current Class LL ratings, is off until Thanksgiving Eve against New London. If Shelton beats No. 9 Fairfield Prep on Friday, the Wildcats earn a berth with a win over the Whalers.

In other games:

• Cole Occhialini and freshman Seth Cunningham rushed for two touchdowns apiece as the Thames River Crusaders won their sixth straight game with a 34-14 victory over Wilcox Tech in a Connecticut Technical Conference game at Norwich Tech.

The Crusaders (7-1, 7-1) remain in the hunt for the CIAC Class M playoff berth and play a key CTC game next Saturday against Abbott Tech/Immaculate in Danbury. Senior offensive lineman Roark Ryan scored his first careere touchdown on a 1-yard run in the second half.

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