PONTIAC — In the biggest of games, it’s often the smallest of things that can make the greatest difference.
That was precisely the case Saturday night when Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and Beverly Hills Country Day met in a Division 4 football district final.
Country Day blocked an extra point late in the third quarter and then stopped a 2-point conversion late in regulation to hang on for a 14-12 thriller on the road.
“This was high school football at its finest,” Country Day coach Dan McLean said after the win. “Our guys rallied when they had to. We made just enough big plays to find a win.”
“This whole game was tough,” Prep coach Kyle Zimmerman said. “We just couldn’t finish tonight when we had to. That’s what it came down to.”
Country Day got the scoring started when Tyler Wiegers hit Maurice Ways with a 21-yard touchdown toss late in the first quarter.
The game remained 7-0 until Country Day’s Richard Wilson scored from a yard out on fourth down with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.
That’s when Prep seemed to seize momentum, though.
Quarterback Brenden Newvine used his arm and legs to drive Prep right back down the field after Country Day scored. Newvine eventually reached the end zone on a 10-yard run with 10.4 seconds remaining in the third.
The ensuing extra point was blocked, though, when Gianmarco Rea bull-rushed the Prep line and got a hand on the kick.
Prep controlled the ball much of the fourth quarter and finally reached the end zone again when Newvine scored from 5 yards out with 1:19 remaining in regulation to make the game 14-12.
Moments later, Newvine was gang tackled on the 2-point conversion, and Prep’s onside kick attempt was easily recovered by Country Day.
“There was a lot of relief on the sideline,” McLean said when asked about his defense’s play on the 2-point conversion. “But we’ll take it.”
The Yellowjackets,9-2, move on to host Grosse Ile High (10-1) this coming weekend. A date and time have not been set.
Grosse Ile beat Dearborn Heights Robichaud 70-51 in its district final.
Prep ends the 2012 season with a 9-2 record.