RYE – Nick Cunningham is probably not the best person to ask for details about the most unlikely comeback of the season.
“It’s all just a blur,” Hen Hud’s senior quarterback said.
Cunningham threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Alan Porter-Jackson with 1:35 left, recovered an onside kick, threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Grullon with 33.1 seconds to go and gave the Sailors a memorable 50-49 win over Rye on Friday when he connected again with Grullon on a two-point conversion after running all over town hoping to buy time.
It was all eye-popping.
The Garnets were sitting on a 49-28 lead and shuttling in backups with six minutes to play.
“I don’t even know where to start, that was amazing,” Cunningham said. “I need to thank every player on this team that didn’t quit after I played the worst half of my life. Every single one of them kept their head in the game, their heart and soul in this game and we came back and won.”
Cunningham also scored on a 2-yard plunge with 3:57 to play, getting Hen Hud within 49-34.
Rye did not go back to the first-string offense, and has now dropped two in a row.
It was fourth-and-15 when Cunningham saw Grullon a step ahead of the defense on the final touchdown.
“Honestly, all I was thinking on that one was, ‘I have to catch this ball or the game is over,’ ” the sophomore running back said. “That had to be my touchdown no matter what.”
The conversion was a circus play with Cunningham scrambling for 8-10 seconds.
“It felt like an eternity back there,” he said. “I’m running in circles just hoping that somebody gets open because I’m not the fastest guy out here. I saw a flash. I still don’t know who caught the ball.”
The game wasn’t over.
T.J. Lavelle drove Rye into the red zone, connecting with Matt Bruno on a long pass to give the Garnets life, but a tipped ball in the end zone was snagged by Porter-Jackson to end the drama.
Player of the game: Cunningham completed 21 of 43 passes for 403 yards and six touchdowns.
Turning point: After he threw a conversion to Porter-Jackson to get the Sailors within 49-42, Cunningham kicked off, chased the ball 10 yards and landed on the onside attempt, beating a trio of Rye players.
Stat line: Cunningham also threw four interceptions, three of them before halftime. … He threw for 242 yards after the intermission. …. Cunningham and Marquan Anderson connected for a 98-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter after the Garnets fumbled the ball away near the goal line.
Quotable: There was no doubt Hen Hud was going for two after the last touchdown. “Absolutely,” Mike Lynch said. “We’ve seen what Rye can do on offense. We didn’t want to risk it. We knew if we got the shot we were going to take it and Nicky just made a great play. That’s not how we drew it up, but he is such a competitor.”