It looked like this one would be shootout early on as both teams scored quickly on their first possessions.
Kellen Komenda made a pair of circus catches on Unatego’s opening drive, a 61-yard drive.
He made a 27-yard catch to END’s 11 that likely would have shown up on ESPN’s SportsCenter had any video made it to Bristol, Conn. With Derrick Marshall blanketing him on the right side of the field, Komenda tipped an underthrown pass from Feyerabend and then secured the deflection between his legs.
Two plays later, Komenda leaped between Marshall and Whitson in the right-middle of the end zone on a 19-yard scoring play. Feyerabend, who went 15-for-29 for 228 yards, then kicked the PAT to make it 7-0, with 9:46 left in the first quarter.
“They’re not designed,” said Microni, who was an assistant coach when Unatego last played in a sectional final, a 28-22 win over Lansing in the 2007 Class C title game. “(Komenda’s) a pretty good athlete. Sometimes, Josh falls in love with a little bit. We’re telling him to check down, but he likes to go deep. He’s young and Kellen makes plays for him. He’ll throw it up there even if he’s covered.”
END answered on its first play from coverage as Tom Agan took a double-handoff 60 yards up the left side for a touchdown. Troy Dygert was stopped about a foot short on the conversion, making the score, 7-6.
Three of END’s next four possessions ended in turnovers. Wilsey intercepted Hunter late in the first quarter after the Crusaders drove to Unatego’s 26, Henry recovered a fumble by Agan in the second quarter and Henry picked off Hunter to halt an END drive that reached Unatego’s 32 just before halftime.
“We focus on when that ball is loose or that ball is in the air at finding it and grabbing it or receiving it,” VanAlstine said.