The focus all week had been on finishing after three weeks of doing anything but. Irvington saw its will to do that tested all night, but especially after touchdowns twice gave Ardsley the lead in the fourth quarter.
“We haven’t been finishing games,” senior Shoran Tamura said. “That’s really what this week was all about, finishing practice and finishing games. I guess we finally did.”
With under two minutes remaining on homecoming night, Tamura put a bow on a wild fourth quarter when he intercepted Ardsley’s Carlos Monserrate to complete Irvington’s 31-28 win, its first of the season.
The Bulldogs (1-3) had lost heartbreakers to Edgemont and Croton-Harmon by a combined eight points because of special-teams breakdowns. This time they rallied after the Panthers (2-2) had gone ahead on fourth-quarter touchdowns by Garrett Peterson and George DiFiore.
“Today they weren’t afraid to succeed,” Irvington coach Mike Oliva said. “They got it done when it mattered most.”
No one more than Tamura. He kept busy in all facets of the game, completing 3 of 3 passes for 114 yards, rushing for 123 yards, and catching four passes for 20 yards, including a touchdown. Tamura connected with Jon Cofre on two long passes, one of which set up Hunter Gizzi’s 1-yard plunge to give the Bulldogs a 23-21 lead.
“We were faking as if I was going to run up the middle,” Tamura said of his pass to Cofre, which went for 55 yards. “I saw Jon come open and I just hit him.”
Ardsley responded with a quick march downfield, scoring on DiFiore’s second touchdown with under four minutes to play. Just two plays later, Tamura broke a 42-yard run into Panthers territory. Josh Grotenstein soon glided in from 10 yards out for the go-ahead score.
“The kids definitely have fight in them,” Oliva said. “We’ve done it every week.”