It was a tale of two halves Friday night as the Hart football team made a second-half push to take a fourth quarter lead, but couldn’t hold, falling to St. Bonaventure on Friday night 39-36.
The Indians (2-2) started the game slow, as quarterback Zach Johnson threw an interception on their first drive of the game that led to a Seraphs (4-1) score.
Hart coach Mike Herrington took onus for the mistake, saying he made the wrong play call.
“His interception play was my fault. I thought I was calling one play and I actually called a different play,” Herrington said. “It was not a good situation to put him in, but he played an exceptional game. He kept on competing and that’s what we need from our quarterback.”
After Hart’s second drive stalled, St. Bonaventure was able to get on the board again when quarterback Kai Puailoa Rojas found his wide receiver Gavin Blanks for the 10-yard touchdown.
The Indians were able to build momentum on their third drive of the game, as Johnson found wide receiver Ryan Tomaszewski for a 41-yard gain. However running back Ethan Blair fumbled the ball near the end zone, leading to the Seraphs taking over at their own 1-yard line.
“It was my completely my fault. I should have held it tighter,” Blair said about his fumble. “It’s a mistake that probably led to us losing the game.”
The Indians were able to get on the board late in the second quarter when Johnson found wide receiver Michael Colangelo for a 26-yard strike.
Hart went into halftime trailing 13-7, but were able to grab the lead to start the third quarter when Blair pounded the ball into the end zone on a 1-yard run.
Just as quickly as Hart scored, so did St. Bonaventure, as the Seraphs drove downfield and made the score 19-14 after Rojas found Gavin Beerup for the passing touchdown.
Puailoa Rojas made several plays with his arm, but showcased his quickness as well, escaping several potential tackles for losses and turning them into big gains.
“The biggest thing is the guys need to tackle better,” Herrington said. “We had (Rojas) for a loss a number of times and they end up getting positive yards.”
After Rojas scored again on a 14-yard rushing touchdown, the Indians attacked quickly, as Johnson found Tomaszewski on a 36-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion made the score 25-22 at the end of the third quarter.
After St. Bonaventure took a 32-22 lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Johnson again was able to get his team into the end zone quickly, finding wide receiver Drew Munoz for a 40-yard score.
“He’s been playing amazing the last few weeks,” Colangelo said of his quarterback. “As you see 36 points on the board. He’s doing everything he can do for this team and we have to support him, we have to help him out.”
Johnson found Jacob Montes in the end zone with less than two minutes in the game, giving Hart the 36-32 lead. However, St. Bonaventure drove down the field and scored with 19 seconds left, giving them the 39-36 victory.
Hart faces Ventura next Friday on the road in its final preleague contest. Hart has defeated Ventura three years in a row.