Call it déjà vu.
One week after the Sault Sabercats varsity team dropped a last-second decision to the Waterloo Predators, the Sabercats suffered a similar fate on Saturday in Ontario Football Conference action.
With 30 seconds to go, a fumble deep in Sabercats territory led to a 12-yard Andrew Rideout field goal to give Sudbury a 27-26 win
The field goal came moments after a Sabercats fumble.
“We made way too many mistakes,” said Sabercats Coach Matt Premo. “We dug ourselves a hole and made way too many mistakes. When you’re trying to close out a game, you can’t fumble the ball at that point in the game.
“We can’t turn it over,” Premo added. “They got pressure in quick, but the first thing has to be to protect the ball. We also had a punt blocked when trying to close out the game.”
Aaron Grawbarger got the Sabercats on the board early with a single point on a punt midway through the opening quarter.
The Gladiators would surrender a safety with just over a minute to go in the opening quarter to increase the Sabercats lead to three points.
In the second quarter, Grawbarger would kick a 20-yard field goal to make it 6-0 Sabercats.
With 2:06 to go Sudbury’s Nicholas Rideout brought the ball 85 yards to the Sabercats one. Quarterback Andrew Rocha would punch the ball in to give the Gladiators a 7-6 lead. Rideout would then catch a touchdown pass with 47 seconds to go to increase the lead to 14-6 heading into the half.
Rideout increased the lead thanks to a 29-yard field goal midway through the third quarter
Greg Caruso would run the ball in from three yards out to cut the lead to 17-12 after a missed convert.
The home side would then take the lead as Lucas Higham caught a pass from Ethan Johnson and ran 105 yards with no time left on the clock to end the third quarter.
Taylor Holub would score on a 39-yard pass from Johnson to up the lead to 26-17 for the Sabercats.
Sudbury got back into the game with a touchdown with just under four minutes to go in the contest.
The loss drops the Sabercats record to 1-2 heading into road action.
“We have to forget it quick and put it behind us,” Premo said. “We could just as easily be 3-0. We’ve got a chance to go on the road now. It will be good for us to get these guys together and bonding.”
The Sabercats return to action on the road against the Brantford Bisons on June 23.