COLUMN: Chad Zolman watches from afar as Homestead holds back Lytle, Bishop Dwenger

Homestead’s Braeden Hardwick runs toward the end zone late in the Spartans’ three overtime win against Bishop Dwenger on September 11. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

For a guy confined to his home on Friday night, Chad Zolman sure went through a lot of excitement.

Stuck at home due to coronavirus quarantine protocol, the Homestead head coach had to watch from afar as his Spartans take on Bishop Dwenger.

So how did it go for Zolman in taking in Homestead’s 35-34 3OT win over the Saints?

Zolman: “Heart Attacks.”

Yes, there was plenty of those for all who took in Friday’s showdown at Dave Walters Stadium, a game that wasn’t decided until the final play.

Following a touchdown on their possession in the third overtime, Coach Jason Garrett and the Saints elected to go for two and the win instead of kicking the PAT and moving into extra session No. 4. When Brenden Lytle was stopped inches short of the goal line on the try, it gave Homestead its third win in four years over Bishop Dwenger and thrust the Spartans back into the SAC title conversation.

Oh, and it allowed Zolman to calm down a bit, who was asked what is more stressful, coaching from the sidelines or stuck at home?

“At home for sure,” Zolman said. “I was screaming in anger and joy.”

Homestead’s Carter Cronewett (24), Luke Palmer (31) and Ryan Burton (29) team up to bring down Bishop Dwenger’s KJ Tippmann during September 11’s game. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

It was that kind of game for both teams, full of peaks and valleys. Homestead was held to 43 yards rushing for the game, never able to get Braeden Hardwick loose. Quarterback Evan Ormsby struggled at times, but made some throws when it counted, none bigger than the TD strike on 4th and 12 to Nate Anderson late in regulation.

While the Saints (3-1) fell, they out-gained the Spartans offense by over 130 yards. Senior Vinny Fiacable had himself a night, not only seeing action up front on both sides of the ball, but also claiming an interception and rushing for a score.

Senior Saints quarterback Brenden Lytle threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing TD in defeat, the latest in a series of solid performances from the veteran signalcaller.

Overtime was truly a stroke-counterstroke approach, with each team taking turns grabbing the lead, only to have the game tied up by the other on the ensuing possession. It was a struggle worthy of two adversaries that in a short time have developed quite the rivalry since Homestead’s entry into the conference.

When the dust cleared, Homestead (3-1) had held on, and Bishop Dwenger went home suffering its first SAC loss of the year.

There will be more big moments and key games that will eventually decide the SAC championship, but Friday’s final play will be remembered as one of the biggest of the year.

Here’s hoping Coach Zolman doesn’t have to suffer again watching from his couch.

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