By Bonta Hill
MILLBRAE – The oddity of a tie in a football game comes with some bizarre moments.
In Friday’s non-league season opener for both Galileo Academy and Mills High School, bizarre might be an understatement in the 14-14 tie between the two schools.
Both teams lined up to attempt potential game-winning field goals in the final 21 seconds of the game – and both came up empty.
“I’m just happy we didn’t lose,” said Galileo head coach Mark Huynh. “We had a great defense there at the end of the game, so yes, I’m happy with the tie.”
The last 21 seconds of excitement and strangeness made up for an otherwise sloppy opener for both teams looking to start the season strong after rough years in 2011.
After Mills kicker Victor Beglitsoff’s 31-yard field goal attempt sailed left of the goalpost, the Lions (0-0-1) countered with a 32-yard run by junior running back Dontell Jackson and an additional 15-yard penalty on Mills for a late hit moved them even closer.
Galileo had two options with 5 seconds remaining in the game. The Lions could attempt a 50-yard field goal or draw up a Hail Mary.
Huynh left the decision up to his team.
“I asked the boys what they wanted to do in that situation — the Hail Mary or go for the field goal — and the team wanted Yanek to get a shot at it,” Huynh said.
Galileo kicker Yanek Hakobyan’s attempt fell well short of the goal post and Mills defensive back Harshal Lal caught the missed field goal at the 10-yard line.
With the Mills coaching staff urging him to run upfield, Lal took off, but multiple whistles sounded to kill the play, leaving both sidelines confused.
“The way that ended, you don’t ever account for that, and I’m sure the referees are not thinking along those lines [and] probably don’t account for that,” said Mills head ocach Mark Krieger. “But we were yelling for our player to keep running, because everybody knows that if a field goal doesn’t cross the goal line, the play isn’t dead.”
As the referees convened at midfield, they allowed Mills (0-0-1) to run one last play from its own 10-yard line, which ended with an incomplete pass.
“I think both sidelines struggled a little bit and the guys wearing the stripes struggled a little bit,” Kreiger said. “So, as nicely as I can say that without getting ourselves in trouble, I think everybody struggled today a little bit.”
Even though Galileo was missing three starting offensive linemen due to injury, the Lions still got solid contributions from Jackson and fellow junior Ronzel Fox.
Jackson ran for a game-high 126 yards and 30-yard touchdown, aided by a huge block from Fox, on only 10 carries.
Fox added 80 yards on the ground and a touchdown (he had two other touchdowns called back on penalties), and bounced off helpless Mills defenders throughout.
“Those are our main guys, both offensively and defensively,” Huynh said. “I liked what I saw, especially considering we missed three offensive lineman.”
Still, without losing or winning, Huynh and the Lions felt – nothing.
“It’s like nothing happened,” Huynh said. “It’s like a practice. No complaints.”
M: 2:50 – Antonio Jeffery 11-yard run (Victor Beglitsoff kick)
G: 10:15 – Ronzel Fox 20-yard run (Yanek Hakobyan kick)
M: 9:54 – Joey Himuro 1-yard run (Beglitsoff kick)
G: 9:39 – Dontell Jackson 30-yard run (Hakobyan kick)