It was what Friday Night football is all about.
Trailing by six points with less than seven minutes to play in a steady downpour, Belmont High School football team had jumped on the back of senior running back Alex Nikolaidis to push undefeated Wakefield's back up against their own end zone.
With fourth down and goal from the 7 yard line, Belmont lined up as the student section was screaming louder than anytime in the entire game. A touchdown and extra point would give the Marauders the lead late in their home opener and help turn around their 0-3 season.
Belmont came out of the huddle and lined up three receivers to the right side. The ball was snapped to Marauder quarterback Brian Coutts who took a few steps to the right, then pivoted and attempted to throw a screen pass to the weak – left – side of the field where there were fewer Wakefield players.
But Warriors' senior linebacker Alec Brown jumped in front the Belmont receiver to intercept the pass and race 94 yards for a heartbreaking touchdown, ruining a game that was within Belmont's grasp.
The 19-7 loss moved Belmont to 0-4 while Wakefield continues an impressive 4-0 beginning to its season.
Played in the rain throughout the night, Friday's game was one of missed opportunities for the Marauders – twice coming away with no points after having first downs 12 and 9 yards from the end zone – and big plays from Wakefield, scoring on runs of 30 and 60 yards along with the 90-plus yard interception.
While they came into the game undefeated and a bit of a swagger, it was Wakefield who needed the wake-up call after Belmont took its second possession 60 yards down the field where Nikolaidis scored from 6 yards out.
But it only took Wakefield two plays to tie the score when sophomore running back Luke Martin sneak through a hole on the right side of Belmont's line to sprint 60 yards for the touchdown that evened the score at 7-7 with 36 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Belmont's defense took over in the second quarter as senior co-captain Brendan Sullivan shot through the gap in the line and sacked the Wakefield QB Miller on third down and short at the 15 yard line and the Warrior missed on a fourth and five pass play at the eight minute mark.
But with less than three minutes in the half, Wakefield's junior QB Mike Miller took the snap and ran between the left guard and tackle and sprinted 30 yards for the touchdown. The extra point was missed to make the score 13-7.
After the half, Belmont took the ball and behind Nikolaidis – who ended the game with 80 yards rushing against an experienced and large Wakefield defense – who gained 30 yards on two rushes and a 30-yard sweep around left end by senior RB Craig Janjigian put the ball at the Wakefield 12-yard line.
But the drive stalled and Darran Chan's 17-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked and missed going over.
Miller brought Wakefield down to Belmont's 11-yard line but the Marauders' senior safety Keith Burns intercepted the ball at the 5.
It was at the start of the fourth were Belmont began to pound the wavering Wakefield defense with Nikolaidis carrying the bulk of the work. And his run to the 9 yard line gave Belmont their chance for the win.