“The kick is up ... and ... and ... and ... and ... and ... and ...
“It’s good! A 61-yarder!”
It took quite a while to describe the field goal by Canisius kicker Blake Haubeil during Saturday’s game at Koessler Field in West Seneca.
The longest such field goal in Western New York history - and only a yard away from the state record - had the added benefit of providing the Crusaders with the winning margin. Canisius held off South Park for a 23-20 win.
The field goal came with 2:51 left in the third period, and turned a 20-6 lead into a 23-6 margin.
“I had missed from 46 earlier, so I wanted to get the next one,” said Haubeil, who will go to Ohio State University next year. “I told the holder to get the ball down, and I’d try to make it. I was a little lucky to get it.”
“There’s a reason he got that scholarship,” added Canisius coach Rich Robbins. “I trust him to make the next kick. I just didn’t know it would turn out to be the game-winner.”
FAST AND FURIOUS: The Sparks, ranked fourth among large schools in The Buffalo News poll, make the game interesting in the final quarter. Austin Neal cut the Canisius lead to 23-12 with a 9-yard run with 9:01 left to play. Then quarterback Tyree Brown, a workhorse throughout the game ran it in from the 5. A two-point conversion made it 23-20 with 3:03 to go.
When Canisius went three-and-out, the Crusaders and their fans had some anxious moments. But SouthPark’s bid at the upset of the top-ranked team among large schools fell short as the Sparks couldn’t make another first down. A bad snap and sack on fourth down wrapped up the win for Canisius.
“They brought back a lot of starters from last year. That’s a veteran group,” Robbins said. “They made some turnovers, and we made some turnovers. But that’s football. They are a well-coached team.”
BIG START: The beginning of the game looked as if Canisius would win easily. On the first play from scrimmage, South Park fumbled the ball away. The Crusaders marched 28 yards in about five minutes to take the early lead, as Mason Hoose scored the touchdown..
On South Park’s next possession, a fumbled snap led to an aborted punt attempt. This Crusader drive was only 14 yards, with quarterback Tyler Stranahan going nine yards for the score. Canisius led, 14-0, after 5½ minutes had elapsed.
“We had some good flow in the beginning of the game,” Stranahan said. “We were in good field position, and the line played awesome.”
FLAG FEST: The officials were busy throughout the contest. They called a variety of violations, from delay of game and illegal procedure to late hits and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Canisius had more than 100 penalty yards, and more than 20 flags were thrown.
“It was an ugly, gritty game,” Stranahan said.
RECORDS: Canisius moves to 3-0, South Park is 2-1.
NEXT UP: South Park hosts West Seneca West, while Canisius takes on DePaul Catholic (Wayne, New Jersey).