There are few more heartbreaking ways to lose a football game than a missed field goal as time expires.
But the KSS Owls will have to regroup from that fact after dropping a 14-12 decision to the Abbotsford Panthers on Friday night in B.C. High School Football play at the Apple Bowl.
With the stands filled with hundreds of black and gold supporters, KSS kicker Risto Zimmer’s 10-yard field goal attempt with seven seconds on the clock was wide to the left.
It allowed the visitors to escape hostile territory with a victory to open the regular season. It was the KSS homecoming game.
The Owls (0-1) will now prepare for a game next Friday against the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers (yes, more Panthers, that’s not a typo) in Surrey.
At least the Owls will head to the Lower Mainland knowing they were never out of the game against Abbotsford (1-0).
After the Panthers staked a 6-0 lead at halftime, what was a plodding contest picked up speed after the break.
KSS tied the game with about four minutes left in the third quarter. Quarterback Isaac Athans aired out a bomb to Kieran Koltun down the right sidelines.
Koltun reached out his arms and dove into the end zone to make what must have been a nearly blind, over-the-head catch with a defender draped on his back.
Zimmer missed on the conversion and the game was tied 6-6.
Two minutes later, Abby running back Jalem Catlin broke free from his side of midfield. His run through the left side of the KSS defence was nearly uncontested, and he made it 12-6. To put an exclamation point on the effort, he also ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-6 advantage.
KSS didn’t fold its tent, though. Midway through the fourth quarter, Athans and Koltun connected again on another deep route to the Abbotsford three-yard line.
Athans finished off the scoring drive the next play, connecting with Colby Miletto on his second TD pass.
Running back Storm Buck was stopped on the two-point conversion try and Abby remained in the lead.
The Owls defence was stout from there, stopping Abby twice before getting the ball back with less than two minutes to play on their own 20-yard line.
A roughing the passer penalty followed by 15-yard runs from Athans and Elijas Fedoriuk kept the drive alive. Then, with just 15 seconds to play, Koltun took a handoff down the right sideline. He faked inside, scooted to his left and found enough open space for a first down to the Abby 10. He wasn’t able to get out of bounds, and the Owls hustled to the ball and clocked it.
That gave the field-goal unit enough time for a clean attempt, only to have it sail wide.