HILLBURN – In a game where nothing came easy, Spring Valley probably needed a fortuitous bounce or two. The Tigers got one to tie Fox Lane, then took advantage of what appeared to be a blown call in the final minutes.
It resulted into a wild closing sequence that allowed No. 6 Spring Valley to survive and win a controversial 17-14 Class AA qualifying round game over No. 11 Fox Lane at Torne Valley Field Saturday.
For the second time this year, kicker Estive Bustos-Cevallos drilled the winning field goal. This came from 25 yards out on the final play of the game — just three weeks to the day of his winning kick that beat Port Chester.
“The kid has ice water in his veins,” said Spring Valley coach Andrew Delva, whose team will travel to Clarkstown South in next week’s quarterfinals. “He dreams about this moment. He talks about it all the time with the little English he knows. He wanted this and he got it.”
The kick came during an emotional final 90 seconds. Fox Lane was incensed after its punt appeared to hit the leg of a Spring Valley player but was awarded to the Tigers by officials. The Foxes would’ve had possession inside Spring Valley territory. Instead, after a long conference among the officials, it was awarded to the Tigers at the 37.
“The referees blew it,” Fox Lane coach Bill Broggy said. “It was so easy to see. You can see I’m a little upset about that. It’s ridiculous. It was so obvious. And those officials didn’t see it?”
Spring Valley’s Michael Maynes broke loose for a 49-yard run on the next play. The Tigers ran up the middle on the next three plays to burn clock and set up the Bustos-Cevallos kick.
Player of the game: Isaiah Dean, Spring Valley. Before the final sequence, the senior delivered the biggest play of the game. He sparked the struggling Tigers by returning a fumble 85 yards for the game-tying touchdown on the final play of the third quarter.
“My father once told me that offense sells tickets, but defense wins game,” said Dean, a defensive back. “That’s exactly what happened today. Our defense came through and picked up the offense and we executed from there.”
Stat line:Spring Valley (6-1) — Dean had nine carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. Maynes also finished with 99 yards on the ground. Fox Lane (3-4) — Tanner More had 25 carries for 96 yards. He scored two touchdowns in the opening 3:42. Spring Valley fumbled the opening kickoff at its 5 and had a punt from deep in its territory travel backward to end its first possession.
Quotable: “They never give up,” Delva said. “All the adversity we’ve dealt with, our star player down, they just keep playing no matter what. Our guys keep fighting.”