By Dan Lovi
For The Signal
As the sun set over Harry Welch Stadium on Friday night, the excitement in the air was palpable, as the Golden Valley and Hart football teams took the field for a game for the first time this season.
But what started as a thrilling beginning to the season ended rather unceremoniously, as the final score read 7-7 at the end of regulation, with overtime out of the picture.
Golden Valley head coach Dan Kelley, Hart head coach Rick Herrington and officials from both schools met in the middle of the field after regulation to discuss the plan of action, ultimately concluding that overtime wasn’t an option.
“There wasn’t any clarification with the league for overtime this spring. Their AD said there was no talk in their meetings. Basically, the league didn’t put it in writing,” said Kelley. “No one had a specific answer if we had overtime or not, so the decision was made. It’s a weird time of year. It is what it is, we got next week.”
“There were no guidelines set in our meeting. There were talks, some coaches said no, one coach said yes, but no one ever finalized anything,” said Herrington. “So, after a while, what’s the rule? The ADs didn’t know, no one knew. Of course, you want to try and win the game, but since there was nothing set, no one finalized it, both teams were dead tired. The main thing was no one knew.”
The lone touchdowns scored by each team came at the beginning of the first quarter and at the start of the third quarter.
On the Grizzlies’ first drive of the game, Hart defensive back Donovan Dunn intercepted quarterback Jaxson Miner. Just a few plays later, deep in Grizzlies territory, Indians quarterback Chase DePaco found his tight end Dylan Vradenburg for a 7-yard touchdown.
The senior, who anchors the defensive line for the Indians, will likely see some more snaps on offense as the season progresses.
“He’ll play tight end, he’ll even play some slot. It’s a tool we can use,” said Herrington. “He is going full-speed on defense, so we have to give him rest here and there, but we’re not afraid to put him on offense. Probably will see him a little more on offense the rest of the year.”
To start the second half, Hart wasn’t able to control the kickoff, as the ball bounced off the shoe of the kick returner and ended up in the hands of the Grizzlies.
Three plays later, Miner connected with Noah Thompson for an 11-yard score, tying the game at 7-7.
Miner, who finished with a touchdown pass and two interceptions, looked for his senior receiver Carlos Meza early and often. Miner’s first five completions went to Meza and the wideout finished with nine catches for 108 yards.
“He’s very talented, he’s all over the field,” Kelley said of Meza. “He’s a special athlete and one of those kids who is a go-to player. I could sit here and talk about him all night.”
Hart will look for its first win of the season next week against Saugus in a Thursday night game, while Golden Valley will face West Ranch on Friday.