Flag Football: Knights Defeat Cougars in Overtime, 7-6

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Photo Isabel Hanewicz

Quarterback Olivia Salzman (’17), who threw the game-winning extra point, embraces Natalia Ayoub (’17) after the Knights’ 7-6 win.

Isabel Hanewicz, RHStoday Editor-in-Chief

On their home field, with the biggest crowd of the year watching, the Robinson Knights’ Flag Football team almost saw their entire season’s goal, the state title, slip away.

Almost.

The Knights’ 7-6 win in overtime against Tallahassee Godby wasn’t pretty, wasn’t clean. Especially on offense, the team made costly mistakes, the kinds that cost championship titles. Interceptions and dropped balls plagued the Knights, who on multiple occasions missed touchdown opportunities in the end zone, yet when it mattered most, Robinson managed to hang on for the win.

With less than a minute left in regulation, an interception by Robinson’s Kelly Dorsey (’16) looked to change the course of the game, giving the Knights the ball with seconds left in the game near the end zone.

Linebacker Kelly Dorsey ('16) runs with the ball after making an interception with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
Photo Isabel Hanewicz
Linebacker Kelly Dorsey (’16) runs with the ball after making an interception with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

“I saw that ball coming, and I remember looking at the clock and seeing 25 seconds and thinking ‘We’re going into overtime’,” Dorsey, part of the 2014 state championship team, said with tears in her eyes. “And it came at me and I did everything I could to hold on to it. I feel like that could’ve helped get the momentum going and help people realize we could still make plays even though things weren’t going the best.”

Even with the interception, the Knights couldn’t get a touchdown in the final seconds of regulation, sending the game into overtime. Godby, who got the ball first on the 10-yard line, scored a touchdown before an extra appoint attempt was blocked by Robinson’s Megan Bohan (’16).

Robinson then took the ball at the 10-yard line, failing to score on their first, second, and third downs. On the fourth down, quarterback Olivia Salzman (’17) found Bohan to tie up the game 6-6. With a timeout called, an extra point was the only thing remaining between the Knights and victory.

Ball outstretched, Megan Bohan ('16) scores the Knights' only touchdown of the game off a pass from Olivia Salzman ('17).
Photo Isabel Hanewicz
Ball outstretched, Megan Bohan (’16) scores the Knights’ only touchdown of the game off a pass from Olivia Salzman (’17).

“We go into the timeout, and we’re going to run the play to McKenna (Tyson), because McKenna’s our go-to person. And we know that they know that McKenna’s our go-to person. So, McKenna says, ‘Run it the other way,'” Saunders said. “So she’s given up her chance in the spotlight to Cassidy (Renninger), a sophomore…that’s trusting a kid to make a big play.”

And Renninger, who played JV flag football in the regular season before being pulled up to the travel team for the playoffs, executed with a well-run route and a catch that sealed the Knights their third consecutive berth to a state championship game.

After scoring the winning extra point, Cassidy Renninger ('18, third from left), gets a hug from Cierra Canty ('16), Olivia Salzman ('17) and Kayla Knowlton ('16).
Photo Isabel Hanewicz
After scoring the winning extra point, Cassidy Renninger (’18, third from left), gets a hug from Cierra Canty (’16), Olivia Salzman (’17) and Kayla Knowlton (’16).

“Since this team has become upper level, so since 2012, I’ve never seen us play two bad back-to-back games on offense,” said Saunders about the team’s chances in Saturday’s championship game against Harmony, who beat Coconut Creek 13-6 in Friday’s other 1A state semifinal. “So, I’m not a betting man, but take the Knights tomorrow.”

Robinson will face Harmony in the FHSAA 1A Flag Football State Championships Saturday, May 14. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Jack Peters Stadium (6311 S. Lois Ave, 33616). Parking is $5 and admission is $8.