(Updated with Omey stats)
The St. Bernard’s Crusaders lost a thriller in the North Coast Section playoffs for the second year in a row on Saturday afternoon, falling 49-47 at San Marin in Novato.
The winning TD was scored with just half a second remaining in the game in what was a back and forth affair and exceptionally well played considering the long layoff for both teams coming in.
After three weeks of waiting and several postponements caused by the recent poor air quality in the Bay Area, both offenses looked sharp, with touchdowns on the opening five possessions combined.
St. Bernard’s junior quarterback Will Omey accounted for seven touchdowns in the loss, running in for five and throwing for two others.
Omey found the end zone three times in the fourth quarter alone, as the Crusaders rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit after being held scoreless in the third quarter.
Omey finished with 260 yards rushing on 43 carries, while completing 19-of-30 passes for 277 yards.
The Crusaders opened the final quarter with back-to-back unanswered TDs to take a 41-35 lead with a little more than four minutes remaining in the game.
The home team answered immediately on a 75-yard Zac Cunningham kickoff return for a touchdown to take a one-point lead.
The Crusaders then answered again, marching downfield and scoring on Omey’s 19th TD run of the season with just 48 seconds remaining.
Once again, however, the home team responded quickly, driving 51 yards on seven plays to re-take the lead in the final second.
“Another instant classic,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said. “Both teams battled back and forth, and it was just a few breakdowns on the final drive that made the difference.”
Luke Fairfield had an 83-yard TD reception in the opening quarter, while Justin Hagler added an 18-yard scoring reception on a great catch and dive into the end zone late in the first half.
That play gave the Crusaders a 26-21 halftime lead, but it was short-lived when the Mustangs came out in the third quarter and scored a pair of quick TDs to take a 35-26 lead.
The Crusaders then rallied late to make for a thrilling finish.
Logan Simoni had a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter to help spark his team.
“My guys left it all out on the field today,” Tomlin said.
The loss ends the Crusaders’ season, one in which they debuted in the Big 4 and made it to the second round of the NCS Division-IV bracket.
“It was a great season,” Tomlin said. “For a school with 170 students, we did it all year against bigger schools.”
San Marin has a student population of 1,100.
The head coach also paid tribute to his senior class.
“It’s a tremendous senior class,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of games with these guys, I’m going to miss them.”
In particular, lineman Connor Chase, who has started every game in all four years at the school.