by Devan Matthews
The 2008 season began in an inauspicious fashion for the St. Peter Chanel football team.
The Firebirds faced Cleveland John F. Kennedy at home Aug. 22, a team they beat by 23 points in their opener a year ago.
Unfortunately, there would be no such victory for Chanel this time around, as the Firebirds dropped a 20-19 decision in overtime.
After falling behind 12-0 in the first quarter, the Firebirds rallied to tie the score with two touchdowns in the fourth period to force overtime.
Both teams scored a touchdown in the extra session, but the Fighting Eagles went for two points instead of opting for an extra point attempt. That made the difference in their one-point victory.
Cleveland JFK cracked the scoreboard first in the opening period when Matthew Batie threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Andre Petite. The PAT attempt failed, though, keeping the score at 6-0.
The Fighting Eagles added to their lead later in the opening stanza. This time, Batie hit Anthony Ruffin with a 45-yard scoring toss.
JFK attempted a two-point conversion run, but it failed. As a result, the Fighting Eagles carried a 12-0 advantage to the locker room at intermission.
The score remained that way until the fourth quarter. That's when the Firebirds intercepted a Batie pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
Chanel added a 15-yard touchdown run later in the fourth stanza to tie the contest and force an overtime period.
Things were looking up for the Firebirds in overtime when they scored on their possession and converted the extra point attempt. That put them up by a 19-12 margin.
However, the optimism was short-lived. That's because the Fighting Eagles' Antonio Bolden reached the end zone on a 22-yard scoring jaunt on his squad's first overtime possession.
For good measure, Bolden then added a successful two-point conversion run, thus ending the game and handing the Firebirds a loss in their season and home opener.
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