Football: New Life Academy falls short in upset bid
For a half, it was the Christians beating the Lions.
Unfortunately for the New Life Academy Eagles, they crashed and burned after the break.
Visiting powerhouse SMB trailed the Eagles 6-3 at the half, but rallied for a hard-fought 31-19 victory at Park High School Friday.
SMB improved to 4-0. New Life fell to 2-2.
Ranked 10th in the latest Class 5A poll, the SMB Wolfpack have been crushing opponents so far this fall. The Wolfpack devoured St. Agnes (55-0), St. Paul Johnson (62-0) and St. Paul Harding (43-7) coming intoFriday's game.
They had also hammered New Life in last year's game, winning 43-0.
But this game was no mismatch. On homecoming night, New Life gave SMB everything it could handle and more, until a pair of crushing back-to-back plays early in the third quarter turned the game completely around.
SMB blocked a New Life punt and Jake Lundquist returned it for a 9-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Eagles as one of the Wolfpack stripped the ball from New Life’s Sam Bissen on the Eagles first play from scrimmage following the blocked punt. SMB‘s Siegel Howard then rambled 21 yards for a touchdown to give the Wolfpack a 17-6 lead with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter.
SMB took a 24-6 lead on a 21-yard pass from Jalen Suggs to Alexey Koeckeritz with 1:59 left in the third.
But it was then the Eagles’ turn to make a big play. Linebacker Ryan Murphy stripped SMB’s Suggs and took the ball 75 yards the other way for a shocking touchdown. New Life kicked the extra point and just like that, the Eagles were back in the ball game, trailing just 24-19 with just under nine minutes to play.
But SMB stopped New Life’s next possession and went on to score the clinching touchdown with 2:28 remaining.
The Eagles will look to regroup next Friday in a game at Providence Academy (3-1).