As comebacks go, this was right up there with the best of them. Even more impressive, though, was how Sacred Heart Prep quarterback Teddy Purcell responded after throwing his first interception of the season.
Purcell scored on an eight-yard scramble with 12 seconds remaining to play, helping SHP rally, not once but twice, past host Half Moon Bay, 29-26, in a Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division football contest Saturday night.
The Gators (4-1) took the second half kickoff and used nearly eight minutes of the clock to drive to HMB’s 1-yard line, where the Cougars (2-3) held.
Hanging onto a 14-12 lead, SHP got the ball back at the end of the third quarter when Beck Anderson intercepted a pass deep in Gators’ territory.
Purcell, on the first play of the fourth quarter, threw a short pass along the sidelines, near the SHP bench. It was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
The fourth quarter was just getting started.
Purcell was 12-of-20 passing for 133 yards at that point. He completed the final six passes he threw, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Paul Barton, who caught seven passes for 78 yards, to put SHP ahead with 7:26 remaining to play.
When he couldn’t find an open receiver, Purcell scrambled, rushing for 55 yards, all in the second half.
Half Moon Bay answered back, forcing Sacred Heart Prep to call a couple of timeouts before scoring with just over two minutes left to go up 26-21.
A good return by Anderson on the ensuing kickoff gave the Gators plenty of room to work. Short passes to Jake York, a 38-yard completion to Cav Williams and a couple of scrambles by Purcell for first downs later, the Gators were eight yards from paydirt.
Purcell hung in the pocket as long as he could, and the offensive line was doing its job in giving him time. The Cougars had SHP receivers covered, and Purcell found an opening, racing into the end zone with the game winner.
A nifty underhanded shuttle pass to Will Mackie on the conversion try added two points.
After combining for 26 points in the first half, SHP and HMB combined for 29 in the final period.
Anderson rushed for an eight-yard score and Andrew Latu raced three yards for another score. The dependable Jonathan Martinez converted his PAT kicks.
Six different runners combined for 165 rushing yards and Purcell finished with 221 passing yards to eight different receivers.
Sacred Heart Prep has one game remaining: against an undefeated Menlo School squad that has run roughshod through the PAL Ocean Division.