Prep football: Syracuse outlasts Highland in 2OT

Despite myriad penalties and missed field goals, Syracuse finally prevails.
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Syracuse • Both Highland and Syracuse missed field goals in regulation that would have made overtime unneeded.

In fact, the Rams missed two thanks to a Titan personal foul in the waning seconds.

But Syracuse kicker Romney Harker, someone who had only taken up the game last year, redeemed himself in the second overtime by nailing a 34-yard field goal in double overtime to lift Syracuse to a 17-14 victory over Highland.

On Highland's next possession, the Rams decided to go for the first down on a fourth-and-7 from the 22-yard line.

Jamahl Greer's pass fell harmlessly to the turf and the Titans, who looked beaten several times, celebrated their second victory of the season.

"We were lucky it turned in our favor," Syracuse coach Russ Jones. "The kids kept their focus. They kept battling back and battling back."

Highland (1-1) nearly pulled out the game with 5.8 seconds to play in regulation. After Harker snap-hooked what would have been a winning 17-yard field goal with a tick less than a minute to play, the Rams ran and passed their way to the Titans' 11.

Syracuse blocked Mike Kerr's first attempt from 28 yards, but a personal foul allowed the Rams one more attempt. Duante Atkinson broke through this time to block the field-goal attempt and send the game into overtime.

Both teams scored on their first possession. The Rams held on the Titans' second possession and forced Harker to beat them.

He did.

"I was really nervous on the first one [in regulation]," Harker said. "I just tried to forget about it."

There was no doubt about the game winner.

"I'm new to this," Harker said. "I didn't know the rules."

Highland, which was flagged for 15 procedure penalties in regulation, grabbed a 7-0 lead late in the first period when Greer and Ben Bergeson hooked up on a beautifully executed 68-yard streak pattern.

Until Highland's final drive, it was its best possession of the game.

Syracuse sophomore quarterback Chase Bauerle struggled for much of the game before catching fire midway through the fourth quarter. He drove the Titans, who reached the Class 5A state title game last season, 80 yards and found Blake Taurone for a 16-yard TD to even the score.