LYNNFIELD — When Lynnfield’s Tyler Murphy scored on a 30-yard run, a little less than three minutes separated the Pioneers from a berth in the Division 5 state semifinals.
But Watertown players, fans, and coaches will remind you, MIAA playoff games aren’t 41 minutes long.
Watertown made those last three minutes something to remember, scoring two touchdowns — including the winner with 11 seconds to play on a 6-yard run by Nick McDermott to stun host Lynnfield, 38-34.
Watertown (6-4), the only No. 6 seed to win a sectional title, will face South champion Dennis-Yarmouth at a neutral site next weekend in the Division 5 state semifinals. The winner of that game advances to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
“I told the kids the same thing I tell them every week and every year,” said Watertown coach John Cacace of his message to his team, down 34-24 with less than three minutes to play.
“You never give up until the final whistle. I said it right after they scored that touchdown. I said it isn’t over until the zeroes are on the clock.”
Following Murphy’s score, Watertown took over on its own 44 with 2:50 to play. That’s when McDermott began the comeback. The junior quarterback hit Conor Kennelly for three straight passes and suddenly Watertown was at Lynnfield’s 13-yard line with 1:31 to play. McDermott targeted John Korte for an 8-yard completion, then hit Korte again, this time for a 5-yard touchdown. Kennelly’s extra point cut Lynnfield’s lead to 34-31 with less than a minute to play.
Watertown went for the onside kick and Korte was the hero again, recovering the ball at Lynnfield’s 49-yard line.
McDermott went to work again. After two incomplete passes he hit Kennelly for 37 yards to Lynnfield’s 12-yard line with 37.6 seconds left. Following penalties on each team, McDermott hit Korte again, this time for 6 yards, putting the ball at the 6-yard line with 17.7 seconds to play.
On the next play McDermott rolled right and beat Lynnfield’s defense to the end zone. Kennelly’s kick made it 38-34 with 11 seconds to play and when the Raiders stopped Lynnfield’s Nick Kinnon on the kickoff, it was game over.
“We’ve had some good ones, but that may be the best of all time,” said Cacace.