Cleveland Stuns Roosevelt With Last Second Touchdown


Clarion photo Anna Suydam

(1)Daniel Suhr Grade 12

Cleveland kept their undefeated season alive on Sept. 23, with a buzzer beater touchdown to secure a 20-14 win over Roosevelt.

This game saved all the scoring for the fourth quarter and especially after a slow start, that left players, coaches, and fans overwhelmed.

The first half wasn’t bad football by any means, with Cleveland threatening to score multiple times, but Roosevelt stepping up and making critical stops.

On just the fifth play of the game we received a sign for the chaos to come. After a 15-yard pass by quarterback Thomas Oh, Roosevelt forced a fumble. Warriors fans panicked as the ball came out of receiver Daniel Suhr’s hands, but Antonio Marquez quickly recovered it for an additional gain of 6 yards.

Following this excitement, the crowd was quieted by a 15-yard facemask penalty against the Warriors, and an ambitious pass into the end zone was intercepted.

This was the story of the first half for Cleveland, while Roosevelt’s drives were scattered with good plays but stalled out, the Warriors offense repeatedly made exciting plays then their progress ended abruptly.

By the end of the first half it was clear that Roosevelt had not solved Cleveland’s playbook, with pitch plays, runs up the middle, and short passes working repeatedly.

Quarterback Thomas Oh had a strong performance, executing his reads nearly every time he had enough time to get one.

On the other side of the ball, Cleveland’s defense also had a strong half. Senior Conor Suhr and sophomore Grant Kloeppel both stepped up to stuff multiple Roosevelt plays that were starting to look promising.

Senior wide receiver Daniel Suhr explained what worked for the Warriors in the second half after struggling to break through in the first.

“We really had to come together as a team, especially in the second half, we played with a lot of energy and trusted each other to get it done,” Suhr said.

Roosevelt had an absolute nightmare of a drive to start the second half, botching three snaps, then allowing Daniel Suhr into the backfield quickly where he broke up a pitch play for a loss of 3 and turnover on downs.
The Warriors still couldn’t quite capitalize, with the drive ending in a fumble at the 6-yard line after a quick 8-yard pass to wide receiver Sean McCormick, a pair of 9-yard runs by Daniel Suhr, and a big gain by Thomas Oh on a well executed keeper play.

Finally, as their next possession stretched into the fourth quarter, Cleveland broke through.

After a nerve wracking 16-yard pass to Daniel Suhr was bobbled but caught, Angel Marquez continued his dependable game on the ground with a run for four yards.

On a pass play from the 6 yard line a falling Thomas Oh found Hank Blaha in the end zone for the first score of the game. Oh then found plenty of space to run into the Roosevelt end zone for a two point conversion, and an 8-0 lead for the Warriors.

The very next play kept Cleveland fans on their feet, as Daniel Suhr picked off the Roughriders’ first play of the fourth quarter.

The Warriors’ drive stalled out, but not before a 36-yard run by Angel Marquez, breaking one tackle, then running somehow untouched surrounded by Warriors and Roughriders for about 15 yards, before finally running out of space.

The Roughriders’ next drive was up and down, with gains of 9 and 14 yards on a run which left two Cleveland defenders on the turf, and a pass to a wide-open receiver along the sideline respectively. That was immediately followed by a 10-yard holding penalty and a 13-yard loss on a snap over the quarterback’s head.

Finally a simple draw play from their own 38 beat the Warrior’s defense, and Roosevelt finally put themselves on the scoreboard.

Conor Suhr kept the 8-6 lead for Cleveland with one of their most impressive defensive plays of the game, fighting through a blocker after overrunning the scrambling quarterback and laying out to grab his legs for a sack.

Unfortunately, following a Cleveland turnover on downs, Roosevelt quickly made up for that failed conversion and more with a 68-yard run straight through the teeth of Cleveland’s defense picking up a touchdown.

They also made no mistake on their second two-point conversion attempt of the game, a moment that felt like the dagger to a Cleveland team that came into this half with so much energy, now down 14-8.
The Warriors got to work, proving that sinking feeling wrong, with a pass straight up the middle to freshman wide receiver Hank Blaha bringing them all the way to Roosevelt’s 15 yard line, a gain of 50 yards.

In a critical moment, the offensive line stepped up, preventing any pressure from getting to Thomas Oh, who released a well placed pass to his left, which was caught by Daniel Suhr in the back corner of the end zone.

Cleveland nearly broke fans’ hearts again, as they were unable to secure the lead due to a botched snap on their conversion attempt, which left the game tied 14-14.

Sophomore defensive lineman Alex Johnson, who had already put together a noticeably strong second half, came up with the second biggest play of the game on Roosevelt’s first down.

Cleveland beat nearly all of the Roughriders’ linemen, with multiple Warriors, including Johnson making their way into the backfield and forcing Roosevelt’s quarterback out of the pocket, where he had nowhere to go. Johnson caught up to him and knocked the ball loose as he continued looking for space, and Cleveland fell on the ball.

With the crowd on their feet Daniel Suhr explained what was on his mind.

“I just trusted my coaches and teammates and focused on the job at hand, even if it didn’t look good at times,” said Suhr.

On this drive it did look good, with an 18-yard pass up the middle to Suhr and a 5-yard run by Angel Marquez giving the team a perfect opportunity from Roosevelt’s 5 yard line.

As Thomas Oh rolled out to his right and found Suhr, somehow open with just seconds remaining in an already huge performance, Daniel explained what was in his head.

“I just really wanted to get the ball into the endzone,” he said.

He did just that from two yards out, turning around and letting himself fall into the end zone, for the touchdown and the 20-14 win.

That play capped off a fantastic game for Suhr, but it shouldn’t overshadow the performances of Cleveland quarterback Thomas Oh and running back Angel Marquez on offense, who were both reliable throughout the game.

On defense sophomore Grant Kloeppel was the standout, picking up eight tackles, half of them for loss, and being the most consistent defensive player across the full game.

Not only did Cleveland pick up a win, but the coaches have to be encouraged by the performances from freshmen and sophomores, and Suhr spoke about his perspective as a senior with such a large role on the team.

“I’ve actually really enjoyed it, it’s been a lot of fun being able to work with our team that’s a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” he said. “I’ve really tried to lead them and it’s gone well so far.”

Finally, Suhr talked about where the Warriors go next after such a clutch victory.

“I hope we can continue to win out and finish the season undefeated,” and on his role in that, “personally I just hope I can keep it up and do some work to help the team win games.”