Tigers' Comeback Attempt Falls Short in Double Overtime
Choler, Mutaali lead Stow to thrilling win 27-24
A rough start and an early deficit were two things that Twinsburg didn't want to deal with on Friday night at Stow High School. However, that was exactly what the Tigers were facing.
Down 14-0 at the end of the first half, Twinsburg head coach Joe Schiavone was upset with his players' effort, and he let them know it.
"I told them we didn't play very well," Schiavone said. "Stow was playing their butts off. We knew that Stow was not going to lay down; they're a good football team."
The Tigers mounted an impressive comeback, tying the game early in the fourth quarter to force overtime. However, Twinsburg came up just short, falling to Stow, 27-24, in the second overtime period. Bulldogs' quarterback Chris Choler scored the game-winning touchdown run from two yards out, dropping Twinsburg's record to 2-2.
Stow's dynamic duo of seniors in quarterback Chris Choler and running back Nick Mutaali led the Bulldogs' offense on a 21-play drive that lasted 10 minutes and 30 seconds and culminated in a two-yard touchdown run, putting the Bulldogs up on Twinsburg early in the first half, 7-0. The Bulldogs added another touchdown just before halftime on a 35-yard pass completion from Choler to wide receiver Mike Waggoner.
The Tigers began their comeback attempt on the opening drive of the second half, as quarterback Jalen Washington engineered a 10-play series that concluded on a seven-yard touchdown run by senior John Barton.
Stow regained possession and appeared poised to extend the lead back to 14 points until Choler was intercepted by Twinsburg's Ben Bisesi on 2nd and 14 from the Tigers' 35. Twinsburg quickly took advantage of the turnover when Washington completed a 39-yard pass to receiver B.K. Grewel, setting up the Tigers deep in Bulldogs territory early in the fourth quarter.
"That was a great play," Schiavone said. "Jalen has a great arm and B.K. did a great job of going up and getting it with the ball in the air and it was a nice, positive play to get some momentum back in our favor."
Barton ran a toss sweep on third down for a 15-yard touchdown, and kicker Frank Candau's successful point-after attempt tied the game at 14-14.
The score remained tied when Twinsburg took over possession with less than a minute remaining in the game after Bisesi recorded his second interception of the game deep in Tigers' territory. A pass completion to Barton resulted in a big gain when Barton broke a tackle and galloped down the home sideline before being forced out of bounds at the Bulldogs' 40 yard line. Washington recovered a bad snap with just seconds remaining and hurled a deep pass toward the endzone as the clock expired, but the attempt was batted down by a Stow defender, forcing overtime.
Stow scored the first touchdown of the overtime session on a six-yard scramble by Choler. When Twinsburg regained possession, getting into the endzone wasn't as simple. Washington scrambled to the six set the Tigers up with one more chance to tie the game and force another overtime period. Wide receiver Tre Jones' jet sweep on fourth down resulted in a touchdown, keeping Twinsburg alive.
However, Jones' touchdown would be the Tigers' last, as they were forced to kick a 25-yard field goal, which gave them the lead, 24-21. Stow continued to grind out yards with handoffs to Mutaali, and Choler scored the game-winning touchdown on second and goal from two yards out.
"We executed at some points, but just didn't do it enough to get the 'W,'" Schiavone said.
"Theres' a lot of football left," he added.
The Tigers will host Brush in their first home game of the season next Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.