It couldn’t have been much closer.
In the end, it came down to a late play as the Newmarket-based Huron Heights Warriors beat the Korah Colts 14-13 in senior high school football exhibition action Saturday evening at Superior Heights.
The Warriors entered the exhibition matchup widely considered the top high school team around and the Colts knew they were in tough heading into the game.
“We expected a dogfight and it was,” said Korah coach Tom Annett.
“It came down to the wire,” Annett also said. “We’re competitors and we want to win. We’re disappointed, but we had an opportunity at the end.”
That late opportunity was a field-goal attempt in the final seconds of the fourth quarter that was ultimately blocked, giving the Warriors the victory.
“It’s hard to describe the mood because we’re competitors and we want to win, but at the same time, yes we can compete with the best,” Annett said. “It’s really good to know that.”
Korah opened the scoring 3:09 in as Ty Koski kicked a 22-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
With 2:56 to go in the second quarter Huron Heights got on the board thanks to a 26-yard touchdown pass from Ethan Schwartz to Alex Figen. With the convert, the Warriors took a 7-3 lead into the half.
Huron Heights took a 14-3 lead 4:06 into the third quarter as Figen ran the ball in from four yards out.
With 3:16 to go in the third quarter, Kaylob Thibodeau pulled the Colts closer as he ran the ball in from six yards out. With the convert by Koski, Korah trailed by a 14-10 margin heading into the fourth.
With Korah driving the ball late and deep in Huron Heights territory, Jesse Burella was stopped on a third down run to give the visitors the ball back, but the Warriors proceeded to concede a safety with 1:41 to go in regulation time to make the score 14-12.
After Korah got the ball back, Burella ran the ball 52 yards deep into Huron Heights territory with just over a minute to go in regulation time.
A pair of runs put the Colts on the Warriors 19 and the ensuing 25-yard field goal attempt was blocked and recovered in the Huron Heights endzone by the Warriors for the single point.
Annett said the late-game push to try to erase the deficit confirmed what he felt about the Colts roster going into the game.
“We marched down (the field) in the fourth quarter and gave our team a chance to win,” Annett said. “That’s the sign of a championship program, a team that’s not going to quit when they’re down late. Our guys showed that heart. That’s probably the most important thing when you talk about leadership and culture.”
Offensively for the Colts, Burella finished the day with 151 yards rushing on 20 carries while Thibodeau added 86 yards on the ground on 12 carries.
Ronan Provenzano added 56 rushing yards on nine carries for Korah, who totaled 315 yards on the ground and ran the ball 52 times in the game.
Defensively for Korah, Owen Trecartin had 6.5 tackles while Drew Esposito had 4.5.
Schwartz completed six of eight pass attempts for 151 yards for Huron Heights in the win.
Michael Murphy was the Warriors leading receiver, catching a pair of passes for 80 yards while Figen had 37 yards receiving on a pair of catches.
Figen also ran the ball 11 times for 53 yards in the win and had 11 tackles defensively.
Robert Wood also had 11 tackles for the Warriors defensively.
Korah returns to regular season action on Friday night as they face the Superior Heights Steelhawks in week four action. Kickoff at Superior Heights is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Junior action in week four will see White Pines face St. Mary’s in a 5:45 p.m. kickoff on Thursday at Superior Heights while Korah and Superior Heights will meet in Friday’s junior game beginning at 4:45 p.m., also at Superior Heights.