It’s fitting it basically ended on a penalty.
In a game mired by 280 penalty yards, Antonio Holloway’s 15-yard touchdown catch at the final horn was called back for illegal touching, leaving Cedar Grove with a 20-12 win over Columbia.
The Eagles’ offense hadn’t moved the ball much all night until the final possession, starting at their own 39-yard line with 2:04 left and marching methodically toward what could have been a tying touchdown.
Ten plays later, Columbia quarterback Andre Brown spiked the ball to stop the clock with 2.4 seconds left at the Cedar Grove 15, setting up what figured to be the final play.
He threw a short outlet pass to Holloway on the right sideline, and Holloway sidestepped two defenders, then leaped into the end zone, seemingly setting up a two-point conversion play that could send the game to overtime.
But the side judge immediately threw a flag and called Holloway for illegal touching, as his right foot landed just out of bounds a step prior to making the catch.
The 15-yard penalty put the Eagles back to the 30, and a final long throw by Brown landed harmlessly out of the back of the end zone.
The controversial ending overshadowed a stellar effort from Cedar Grove’s Deion Sellers, who had 201 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, as almost the entirety of the Saints offense.
Despite his effort on the ground, though, the Saints (1-1) couldn’t put many points on the board, scoring just the two that Sellers got on the offensive side, while the other 6 came on a key defensive play.
Midway through the fourth quarter, with Cedar Grove clinging to a 2-point lead, Brandon Norwood grabbed his second interception of the game, returning this one 21 yards for a touchdown that gave the Saints their final margin of victory. Without that, Columbia could have considered a game-winning field goal in the waning seconds.
The other story of the game was turnovers, and both teams had plenty of them to go around.
Cedar Grove finished with 165, and Columbia nearly matched them with 115 of their own. One particularly notable series of penalties left the Saints kicking off from their own 7 following the Norwood touchdown.
Brown finished 13 of 24 for 131 yards and 1 touchdown, along with those 2 interceptions by Norwood. Shadell Bell led the Eagles with 55 receiving yards and a touchdown on a 40-yard toss from Brown.
Columbia 0 6 6 0 – 12
Cedar Grove 7 0 7 6 – 20
CG – Deion Sellers 10 run (Ramon Brown kick)
C – Andre Brown 1 run (kick missed)
C – Shadell Bell 40 pass from Brown (pass failed)
CG – Sellers 4 run (Brown kick)
CG – Brandon Norwood 21 INT return (kick blocked)