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updated: 8/30/2014 11:29 PM

Oswego stuns Batavia on final play

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

The resumption of the football season-opener between Oswego and defending Class 6A state champion Batavia could not have been authored by a Nobel Prize-winner.

Saturday night in Batavia, the teams exchanged scores on seven combined possessions in the final 17 minutes.

On a sultry evening in which penalties seemed to be the undoing of Oswego, Batavia made one final pivotal mistake.

The Panthers needed a Hail Mary-type moment with less than seven seconds to play and trailing by 4 points.

Oswego quarterback Steven Frank found receiver Ryan Hennessy, and the Panthers' senior threw a desperation lateral as time expired 40-plus yards from the end zone.

But Batavia committed a personal-foul face mask on the play, giving Oswego an untimed play at the Bulldogs' 24-yard line.

Frank miraculously found Joe Hennessy in heavy traffic, and the Panthers escaped with a most improbable 40-38 victory that left the coaches and players searching for the right adjectives.

"It was unbelievable, a tidal wave of events," Oswego coach Brian Coonley said.

"It was a very exciting high school football game," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said after the Panthers snapped the Bulldogs' 12-game winning streak dating to last year.

"We didn't get many calls tonight," said Frank, who finished with 244 yards passing. "We got that one last penalty. That was a game-changer. The kid I threw (the final pass) to was my primary (receiver), but I didn't know he was double covered."

"All we had to do was tackle him," Piron said of the seemingly final play of the game.

But a football game cannot end on a defensive penalty.

There were seven lead changes in the last 16 minutes and 46 seconds of the game.

Batavia (0-1) receiver Peyton Piron had an 11-yard touchdown reception two and half minutes into the final quarter to give the Bulldogs a 24-21 lead.

But Connor Cavins' 4-yard run restored the lead for Oswego (1-0) three-plus minutes later.

The climatic offensive fireworks were just beginning, however, as Noah Frazier had a 5-yard sweep to the short side with 1:51 to go to give Batavia a 31-27 cushion.

But Frank hit Thomas Tripp for a bomb on the Panthers' ensuing play; Connor Hennessy had his second touchdown reception to cap the 31-second drive from 14 yards away.

Batavia would show no quit, though, as Kyle Niemiec, who combined with starting quarterback Evan Acosta for 320 yards passing on 31 completions, hit Canaan Coffey from 17 yards out with a half-plus-minute to play.

It was the 13th catch of the game for Coffey, who had a pair of scores and 164 total reception yards.

"We're in a great situation," said Niemiec, who was 17-for-20 passing for 161 yards. "We have two fantastic quarterbacks who can both lead the team."

Batavia was on the verge of a multiple comeback win, only to have Oswego snatch victory away.

"That's football," Niemiec said of the frenetic final quarter. "It's going to happen. Hey, if (the opposition scores) we get another chance to go out on the field."

"It was a very tough way for it to end," coach Piron said. "(The Panthers are) an 8A team that has won their conference seven straight years. We're not getting any cupcakes."

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