WINTHROP — There was never a doubt about whether to settle for the tie and go to overtime, or try to win the game with a two point conversion as far as Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt was concerned.
After Doug Santos capped an 81-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard run with 1:35 remaining in the game and Peabody trailing by a single point, Bettencourt put the ball in quarterback Mike Raymond’s hands.
“There was never a question in my mind about kicking,” said Bettencourt. “I never gave it a thought. We wanted to get Raymond on the outside and give him the option of running or passing. (Billy) Teehan made the block, and we had Cody Wlasuk in the end zone. I told Raymond if he was wide open to hit him, but if he saw the pylon to go for it.”
Raymond ran to the right sideline and took it in himself to give Peabody a 30-29 lead, but the game was far from over. Winthrop drove down the field to the Peabody 16-yard line with time running out. Jake Chuidina’s field goal attempt on the final play of the game sailed wide left.
Winthrop quarterback Dylan Driscoll tried several passes on the last drive and completed two, but the Tanners were able to break up two others. Santos batted a ball away and Tanner Moquin broke up a pass in the end zone.
“That play by Moquin was huge,” said Bettencourt. “We really needed him to come up big. Tanner does a great job playing both ways, and Raymond was terrific. This was a team win. Our offensive line showed up, our backs ran hard, and our defense made some big plays. We didn’t always stop them, but we were in the right position to make plays.
The Tanners (2-3) snapped a two-game skid and avoided losing to Winthrop (3-2) for the first time since 1923.