By BRANDON WATSON / Gatehouse News Service
Colon held a comfortable lead late in the third quarter Friday and the Magi have come accustomed to big leads this season.
Yet, Pittsford wasn’t willing to just let its season wash away that quickly.
The Panthers scored two late touchdowns, but Colon managed to hang on, winning the school’s second district championship ever, 33-21.
“They did a nice job, the offensive line really hunkered down there and played man-to-man,” Magi coach Spencer Henley said. “We got two or three critical first downs there and ended up scoring in the end.”
Pittsford coach Bob Clement said he was proud of his team’s effort.
“Our kids played hard, they’ve played hard all year,” he said. “They (Colon) have a good team, I won’t take anything away from them, that’s a nice team.”
Colon led 27-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
Pittsford, however, marched 86 yards down the field, capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Garet Lee.
At 27-21, the game was far from decided.
Yet, with more than seven minutes left on the clock, Pittsford did an onside kick and could not recover.
Colon, only up six points, needed just 48 yards to go up by two scores again.
And they did.
In order to put the game out of reach the Magi needed a 10-play drive to go those 48 yards.
Brendon Shallack would find his way to the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run as Colon took the lead for good, 33-21.
“We knew we had to just buckle down and score,” Shallack said. “We got a few crucial first downs on the drive. We made the plays when we needed them.”
Colon, now 10-1, adds its second football trophy to the school’s case.
Previously, the Magi won a District title in 2005.
“I remember that one,” Clement said. “We’ve had everything but a district championship at Pittsford.
When we won the state title they didn’t have that, so the kids really wanted that (a district crown). But, you don’t always get what you want.”
It was also the second time this season Colon beat Pittsford.
The two squads met back in Week 2 with the Magi earning a 34-14 victory.
This time, the game was much closer.
“We can’t give two blocked punts down deep like that to a team like that,” Clement said of Colon, who blocked two punts in the first half. “You just can’t do that.”
Pittsford took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive, which took 12 plays and went 70 yards.
Kurtis Brackman scored on a 2-yard run for the Panthers.
Colon, with its quick-strike offense, scored to open the second quarter.
Shallack hit Luke Sharp for a 15-yard touchdown pass.
A Gabe Sturgis extra point made it 7-7.
The second quarter flat out belonged to the Magi.
With four minutes left in the half, Shallack finished off a 6-play, 83-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run.
The extra point was missed and Colon took a 13-7 lead.
Colon’s next possession also ended in a Shallack touchdown run, this time from three yards.
The ensuing 2-point conversion was missed, giving Colon a 19-7 lead at halftime.
Clement said his team talked about being stronger in the second half.
“We just talked about how we’ve worked too hard to hang it up now,” Clement said of what his team talked about at halftime. “We fought hard all year, we came back from an 0-2 start and had a good season.”
Up 19-7, Colon knew the game wasn’t over.
Shallack, who carried his team all night, broke out of the pocket and busted right.
He broke a tackle at the 20-yard line.
Then he outran a Pittsford defender to the sideline, making his way to the end zone, jumping over a pile of bodies. The 24-yard run was followed up by a pass from Shallack to Landon Wilson for the 2-point conversion.
Lost until late in the second half was Pittsford QB Lee.
Lee scored on runs of 14 and 1 yard to keep his team in the game.
“Garet is a good football player, I won’t take anything away from him,” Henley said. “But I’ll take my No. 5 (Shallack).”
Shallack finished with 35 carries for 221 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Lee had 23 carries for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns.
For Colon, Curtis Hiler had nine carries for 40 yards. Sturgis also ripped off a 28-yard run.
Defensively, the Magi were led by Hiler’s 12 tackles. Shallack, Paul Wight and Kaleb Powell each had five.
Colon will host Muskegon Catholic Central either Friday or Saturday.
The Crusaders beat No. 1 Climax-Scotts, 28-27 on Friday.
“We’ve got two trophies now,” Henley said. “But I think we’ve got some room in that trophy case for some more hardware.”
Colon’s quest will continue at home, where they haven’t lost yet this season.