EGG HARBOR CITY
St. Augustine Prep junior Kyle Snow wasn’t exactly the lonesome kicker after his performance on Thanksgiving.
Snow booted a pair of field goals — the first two of his high school career — and was 5-of-5 on extra points as he led the Hermits to a 41-40 overtime victory over Cedar Creek.
With the win, St. Augustine clinched the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference championship. It is their first conference title since 2009 and third overall.
The game was a contrast in styles. The Pirates were buoyed by quarterback Damon Mitchell, a Georgia Tech recruit, who finished the day 16-of-26 passing for 252 yards and two scores.
Meanwhile, the Hermits chose to grind it out behind running back Calvin Cass, who carried the ball for 246 yards on 54 carries, scoring three touchdowns.
St. Augustine coach Mark Reardon said, “People ask whether we’ll mix it up, and we do formationally, but in the end our program is all about running the football and toughness, and Calvin exemplifies that.”
Cedar Creek drew first blood three minutes into the contest as Mitchell found Caleb Graves on a 45-yard touchdown pass.
The Hermits responded 37 seconds later as Andrew Nelson took a tipped Alex Hughes pass 55 yards for a score to knot the game at 7-7.
This would prove to be a recurring theme, as the Pirates would score first in each of the four quarters, only for the Prep to counter with a tally of their own.
Thus, when Cedar Creek running back Gary Melton scampered for a 49-yard touchdown with 7:11 to play in the game to take a 34-27 lead, St. Augustine was not worried.
Cass said, “We knew we had the heart to win (the game), no matter the score.”
Cass barreled in for a 10-yard touchdown with 1:39 left in regulation to draw the score at 34-34 and send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, the Pirates took the ball first and Mitchell found his way to paydirt on a quarterback sneak from a yard out.
But Emily Kruger, the highest-scoring kicker in the CAL entering Thursday’s game, was unable to convert the point-after.
It was the last in a line of special teams bloopers by Cedar Creek, including three failed conversions and a pair of botched punts.
Cass would lead the Hermits into the end zone in five plays to tie the game at 40 and set the scene for Snow’s heroics.
Snow had thoughts that the game might have come down to his foot once the game extended past regulation.
“As a kicker, you always think overtime will come down to a field goal,” he said.
He actually had to attempt the game-winning kick twice, as the first made kick was waved off because of a dead-ball foul for illegal substitution on Cedar Creek.
He drilled the ball clear through the uprights on the second attempt, and was suddenly mobbed by his teammates, jubilant in their triumph.