WHITE PLAINS — It was a tale of two halves at the 42nd annual Turkey Bowl, with Stepinac beating White Plains 19-18 in a wild finish Thursday at Glenn D. Loucks Field.
Stepinac earned its third straight Day victory over its intracity rival despite trailing 18-0 with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. Daniel Hoffer’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Chrystian Lopez with 32.5 seconds remaining capped the comeback.
“You can’t even explain it. It’s just awesome knowing that you end your season on that,” Hoffer said after throwing for 98 yards and two touchdowns in his final game for the Crusaders. “There’s really nothing else better — its like a championship game here in White Plains.”
The Tigers lead the all-time series 27-15, and their morning started with promise. They drove 73 yards on their second possession, reaching the Stepinac 2-yard line but failed to convert on fourth-and-goal.
On the next play, Hoffer fumbled a shotgun snap deep in his end zone. The senior tried kicking the ball through the back of the end zone for a , but White Plains linebacker Josh Renfroe pounced on it for a touchdown.
White Plains held Stepinac to a three-and-out on its next possession, and a high snap led to a punt that only traveled 10 yards. The Tigers took over at the Stepinac 36-yard line. Several plays later, on third-and-14, Brandon Williams scrambled 23 yards for a touchdown.
Williams made his first start at quarterback in place of Cameron Crabbe, who was serving a one-game suspension after being ejected during the Tigers’ loss to Clarkstown North.
“He played great the whole game — he was the X-factor for us offensively,” White Plains coach Skip Stevens said of Williams, who had 20 carries for 97 yards and completed six passes for 90 yards.
Murilo Rosendo’s 26-yard field goal increased the Tigers’ lead to 18-0 in the third quarter. That’s when Hoffer and Crusaders running back Ryan Burnett took over.
Stepinac drove 80 yards for a touchdown on its next possession, highlighted by Burnett’s 30-yard run on fourth-and-one, and Hoffer’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Justin Thomas. The Crusaders soon cut their deficit to five points, with Hoffer’s 3-yard run with 10:16 to play capping a 92-yard drive.
The teams exchanged punts. Stepinac got the ball back with 2:06 to play after Williams threw an interception on third-and-long.
Hoffer completed three passes for 38 yards on the winning drive, including the 9-yarder to Lopez in the end zone.
“The seniors didn’t want to go out losing,” Lopez said.