With 46 seconds remaining, Gregory Desrosiers scored the go-ahead touchdown on a a 25-yard sweep in Saturday’s Independent School League showdown against host Buckingham, Browne & Nichols.
But four plays later, clinging to a 28-21 lead, the Belmont Hill defense was backed up on its own 7-yard line following a 56-yard kick return from Sammy Malignaggi and an ensuing 15-yard scramble from BB&N QB Jared Silverio.
But Grant Litchfield, a junior linebacker from Sudbury, shot the gap and stripped the ball from Silverio with four seconds left, allowing Belmont Hill (4-0) to remain unbeaten with the ISL6 win over the Knights (2-2) at Russell Field.
“I was just told to go and to go 100 percent,” said Litchfield.
“This was our championship game. It’s been five seasons since we last beat [BB&N] There’s been that constant online chirping at us, egging us . . . and we took out all our anger on the field and showed them who’s boss.”
Belmont Hill trailed, 14-7, to start the second half, but drew even early in the third quarter when quarterback Luke Bobo connected with sophomore Henry Lodge on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
The Hill muffed a punt return at the start of the fourth quarter, but later, Jason Olivieri pounced on a fumble by Malignaggi and went 64 yards with the scoop and score for a 20-14 lead following a missed point-after.
BB&N answered with a 1-yard keeper from Silverio, capping a nine-play, 55-yard drive for a 21-20 lead. Both offenses stalled before Belmont Hill took possession with three minutes to play, trailing by one.
A fourth-and-14 conversion on a 27-yard back-shoulder pass from Bobo to Cam Reirden put the ball on the BB&N 25. From there, Desrosiers put his sprinter’s speed on display in giving Belmont Hill the lead for good.
“We practice that play all the time,” said the 5-foot-10-inch senior from Lawrence.
“Our guards are very good at pulling and leading, so I just followed them into the end zone.”