One week after being eliminated from the playoffs, the Absegami High School football team capped its season with a dramatic win.
Nick Della Vecchia kicked a game-winning 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to lead Absegami to a 28-25 win over Oakcrest on Thursday, Nov. 22 in the teams' annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game.
The field goal broke a 25-all tie. Absegami finished the season with a 6-4 record. Oakcrest was winless for 2012 at 0-9. However, it was the Falcons who got on the board first, taking a 3-0 lead on a Ricky Hess 30-yard field goal in the first quarter. The score held up through halftime.
The teams traded third quarter leads before Absegami's offense exploded. The Braves initially took a 6-3 lead with a David Hood 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. That score was quickly answered by an Oakcrest drive that was capped by a 1-yard Danny Smith run for a 10-6 lead.
Tyler Bing scored the next three touchdowns for the Braves. First, he caught a 21-yard pass from quarterback Mike Dolan, as Absegami reclaimed the lead. He then scored on runs of 12 and 5 yards.
Through three quarters, Della Vecchia was 1-for-4 on PATs, giving the Braves a 25-10 lead, but allowing Oakcrest an opportunity to get back in the game.
In the fourth quarter, Smith completed two touchdown passes, of 20 and 48 yards, to tie the game at 25-25 before Della Vecchia's heroics.
It was the third close win for Absegami this season. On Sept. 28, Absegami defeated Millville 24-21, and on Sept. 21, the Braves beat Mainland, 13-7.
Absegami was involved in a number of close games this season, including a 34-30 first round playoff loss at Atlantic City on Nov. 16. The Braves had a late lead in that one, but the Vikings were able to mount a comeback and advance in the playoffs.
On Thursday, the Braves weren't about to let another late lead slip away.