By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE—Brandon Schafer got an opportunity for a do-over, a mulligan, if you wish.
He made the most of it, kicking a game-winning field goal with 14.9 seconds to play. The 28-yard boot powered Providence to an exciting 17-14 win over Louisville Holy Cross on Friday night at Murphy Stadium.
The Pioneers began the season with three straight losses, but have now strung together three consecutive wins to even their record at 3-3.
“A lot of people were panicking when we were 0-3,” Providence head coach Larry Denison told Big X Sports Radio WXVW-1450 AM following the contest. “Like I said at the beginning of the year, we’re going to be a better football team this year, but our record may not show it because (we have) a tough schedule.
“If we keep improving each week and taking our game up one notch more, by the playoffs we should be a pretty good team.”
It appeared that Providence was not going to take advantage of opportunities to win in the second half. The Pioneers had good field position throughout the latter half, but could not capitalize until the very end.
Holy Cross (3-3) got on the board first. A pitch to running back Mario Convenuto turned into a 52-yard touchdown when Convenuto threw a long pass to Zach Meiman for the score.
The Pioneers answered early in the second quarter when they started with the ball on the Holy Cross 23-yard line. Providence junior Kaden Williams then powered the running game at that point, finally running it in from 3 yards out to tie the game at seven.
Williams put Providence ahead 14-7 late in the second with his second score, this time from 1 yard with 5:16 left in the first half.
A frustrating third period saw neither team able to generate much yardage. However, after a shanked punt, Providence got the ball on the Holy Cross 19.
The Pioneers were only able to move the ball 5 yards on three plays, setting up Schafer’s first field-goal attempt. The junior kick pulled the ball left.
Holy Cross put together a drive later in the third that started on its own 20. Then Cougar quarterback Jaren McDonald connected with Gavin Foushee for a 7-yard TD reception to tie the game at 14 with 11:44 remaining in the fourth.
The remainder of the last period appeared to be one of frustration for each team, as neither could generate much.
However, Williams intercepted a pass and the Pioneers took over from 46 yards out. Eight plays later, Schafer got a chance to win the game, which he did with his 28-yard field goal with 14.9 seconds left.
Holy Cross got a final opportunity, but was unable to do anything in the short time remaining.
“It was a total team effort at the end,” Denison said. “Our defense came up with a big turnover with less than 2 minutes to go on their side of the 50. Our offense drove the ball to get us into field-goal range. Brandon Schafer did a great job kicking for us.”
Providence will play its final regular-season home game at 7 p.m. next Friday against 5-1 Mitchell, a potential Class 2A Sectional 39 opponent. The Bluejackets defeated Rock Creek 80-0 Friday night.
PROVIDENCE 17, HOLY CROSS 14
Holy Cross 7 0 0 7-14
Providence 0 14 0 3-17
HC — Zach Meiman 52 pass from Mario Convenuto (Meiman kick), 7:31.
P — Kaden Williams 3 run (Brandon Schafer kick), 11:09.
P — Williams 1 run (Schafer kick), 5:16.
HC — Gavin Foushee 8 pass from Jaren McDonald (Meiman kick), 11:44.
P — Schafer 28 field goal, :14.9.