A spirited effort by the Mohawk High football team came up short last night.
Western Beaver’s Zack Shank booted a 28-yard field goal with two seconds left to propel the Golden Beavers to a 24-21 WPIAL Midwestern Athletic Conference come-from-behind victory over the host Warriors.
Mohawk (0-4 MAC, 0-5 overall) held a 21-7 lead at the half and 21-14 through three quarters.
“I’m proud, but I expect that,” Warriors coach Tim McCutcheon said of the effort from his team. “These are tough, hard-nosed guys. They’re tough kids. We are tough. They fought to the end, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get us the win.
“This loss would sting for any team. This loss would sting just as hard if they were all seniors. This is a game that we can’t let get away from us and we did.”
The game appeared to be headed to overtime tied at 21. Mohawk had possession facing a third-and-13 on its own 45 with just over 30 seconds left. Western Beaver (1-2, 3-2) was out of timeouts.
But Warriors quarterback Marc Conti threw a pass that bounced off a teammate’s hands and into the waiting hands of the Golden Beavers’ Thaddeus Gray.
“That was big for us,” first-year Western Beaver coach Derek Moye said. “I was kind of surprised that they ended up throwing the ball in that situation at that particular time. It was a tipped ball. (Gray) was smart enough to get as many yards as he could for us.”
Said McCutcheon, “We thought we had a shot with that pass. We didn’t really think it was a high risk shot. We took a shot at it and it didn’t work.”
Moye is a Rochester High graduate who continued his collegiate career at Penn State. He then spent parts of the 2012 through 2014 NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans organizations. Moye caught his only NFL TD pass with the Steelers in 2013.
The Golden Beavers took over on Mohawk’s 36 with 27.3 seconds left. Western Beaver quarterback Xander LeFebvre took off on a quarterback run on first down and rumbled for 18 yards. He quickly got his team set and spiked the ball.
LeFebvre then flung an aerial to the right sideline that a receiver dropped near the 5. LeFebvre completed a pass to the other side of the field at the 11 on the next play and his receiver got out of bounds with six seconds left.
“They played it very well,” McCutcheon said of the Golden Beavers’ final drive.
Shank came out to attempt a 28-yard field goal. Mohawk called its final timeout of the game just prior to the attempt. The kick would have been good. The teams got back in place and this time the kick counted — with two seconds left to play.
Moye was asked what Shank’s range is.
“That’s a good question, I’m not even sure, honestly. We know that he can kick.”
Shank walked out of the locker room at that moment and Moye yelled, “Shank, what’s your range? What’s your kicking range?”
Shank replied, “Whatever you need.”
“See, I told you, he’s confident,” Moye said.
Western Beaver kicked the ball deep. The Warriors returned it to their 20 but the ball carrier was brought down immediately and the game ended.
Vincent Argiro scored all three of Mohawk’s touchdowns in the first half. He ran for 103 yards on 17 carries in the opening half, but finished with 26 attempts for 109 yards.
“Argiro runs hard,” McCutcheon said.
The Warriors finished with just three net rushing yards in the final 24 minutes.
“Western Beaver really sold out to stop our run,” McCutcheon said. “There were some plays that we didn’t execute. They brought a lot of heat, too.”
Mohawk returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday when it travels to Shenango (1-2, 3-2) in a MAC matchup.