Football: Galileo stuns Lowell with last-second touchdown

Galileo junior Isaac Armstrong celebrates after his game-winning touchdown against Lowell on Friday at Galileo Academy. (Photo by Tawnya Gray)

By John Baker

Teams that come up big late in games are often called “cardiac kids.”

After Friday’s game between Lowell High School and Galileo, both teams might be suffering from some angina.

The visiting Cardinals came from behind late to tie the game at 22-22 after Michael McCarthy’s 1-yard touchdown, but missed the extra-point wide right.

The Lions made the most of the 28 seconds remaining in the game, barreling 60 yards on two plays for the game-winning touchdown to give Galileo a 29-22 Academic Athletic Association win.

Lowell senior running back Michael McCarthy turns the corner against Galileo on Friday at Galileo Academy. (Photo by Tawnya Gray)

The deciding score came on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Galileo junior quarterback Kyle Nelson to Isaac Armstrong with 5 seconds remaining.

“That was tough. A lot of things went their way,” said Lowell head coach Danny Chan. “Their quarterback is great. [He does] a lot of improvising. We were covering the guy he threw it to, but he kind of ran away from our kid.”

The winning score was set up by Nelson’s 35-yard scramble in pressure on the first play from scrimmage after Lowell’s score. It was the longest play of the game.

“I don’t know [how I did it]. I just played. I didn’t think about it,” Nelson said. “I know [Lowell was] going to be extra-aggressive because of the time and the score. They were really jumping hard [at me], so I was just patient and was calm.”

The win puts Galileo (3-5-1, 2-3) in a good position for the playoffs, and was a big boost of confidence for a team that has had trouble finishing games.

“In the Washington game, when they scored at the end, the players kind of gave up. Here, they didn’t give up,” said Galileo head coach Mark Huynh. “Kyle made a huge run, then a huge pass, so I feel good for Kyle – taking all the hits and everything. Now he’s they guy making the big plays.”

Lowell (4-4, 3-2) took a 16-7 lead into the halftime break after a 10-yard touchdown run by McCarthy and a 5-yard run by William Kim (the game’s leading rusher, with 103 yards on 15 carries), each followed by a two-point conversion.

Galileo got an 81-yard interception return by junior Dontell Jackson for its only score in the first half, then took a 22-15 lead behind a 32-yard shovel pass from Nelson to Jackson and a 15-yard run by Ronzel Fox with 4:08 left in the game.

The Cardinals got the ball on their own 42-yard line after Fox’s score and took eight plays to get up the field and score on McCarthy’s second touchdown of the game. McCarthy, also the placekicker, just barely went outside the uprights on the final extra-point try.

Galileo junior quarterback Kyle Nelson stiff-arms a Lowell defender on Friday at Galileo Academy. (Photo by Tawnya Gray)

“We would’ve went for two, but I was confident in our kicker,” Chan said. “The snap was a little off. I would do that every time.”

The missed extra point, which turned an almost-assured loss into a chance to win with a score, energized Galileo.

“[It] definitely [helped], because that would’ve been it,” said Armstrong, who scored the winning touchdown on his only reception of the game. “It gave us momentum.”

Nelson, who completed 5-of-10 passes for 95 yards, then had his big run.

McCarthy, beside his two touchdowns, had 16 carries for 75 yards and the Lowell offense tallied 275 yards rushing. Fox had 74 yards on 11 carries for Galileo.

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  1. Iforgotmyname says:

    This is not relevant but Galileo could use new uniforms.

  2. JJ says:

    I like Galileo’s uniforms. They look like throwback uniforms. GAL was my “preseason” pick to win the AAA. They didn’t play that well in the beginning, but they are playing well now and just pulled off an upset. Hopefully, we’ll see more upsets in the future with this team.

  3. Coach Z says:

    Lowell would not have gotten that touchdown at the end of the game. Their offense is run-first, which means their formations are tight. Lowell’s goal is to run and eat up as much time as possible. It’s difficult to get receivers down the field in an efficient and timely manner out of Lowell’s formations. There is no way Lowell would have made their last game-tying touchdown if it weren’t for the onside kick that Galileo attempted, which gave the Cardinal’s possession at their 42-yard line. Why would the Galileo coach call for an onside kick when one is unneeded. The kicker should have booted the ball as far as he could, which would have prevented Lowell from scoring in time. Galileo’s kicker has a strong leg that could have placed Lowell at their 25-yard line. The fact that there were 28 seconds left in the game after Lowell’s touchdown, shows how much time Lowell’s offense takes to get a TD. Lowell barely got their touchdown. The Galileo head coach should not have made the call to onside kick. It’s a call that shows the lack of confidence a coach has is in his defense. It was unneeded. It was a risk.

    Sure, Galileo has a shot at the playoffs, but their shot will come to an unsurprising halt due to questionable calls.

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