SUCCASUNNA, NJ - There were twin chances to get into the end zone during the final minute of the season finale for Chatham.
Finn Torkelson made an over-the-shoulder catch, was pulled down on top of a Roxbury defender and nearly pulled a Houdini escape in taking the ball into the end zone. The score would have ended Chatham's long scoring drought and put the Cougars within an extra point of tying the game (see video below) in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
But Finn was ruled down on the play at the eight-yard line so that left it up to his twin brother, Duncan Torkelson, who took quarterback Giovanni Del Re's fourth-down pass and fell on it in the end zone (see below).
The play to Duncan Torkelson was ruled incomplete and that's how the 7-0 loss to Roxbury and the 2020 season ended on Thursday night.
A closer look at Finn's catch and spin shows that while his knee did not hit the ground during his spin escape, his arm did hit the turf.
"I thought I rolled off (of the defender)," Finn Torkelson said, "The refs called it down. They didn't blow the whistle, so I thought I was good. The refs have the final call and that's how she goes."
The final play of the season to Duncan Torkelson was a close call, too, but it was ruled incomplete, extending Chatham's scoreless streak to 17 straight quarters. it was the fourth straight shutout tagged on Chatham (0-7).
"I couldn't see (the final play)," Chatham coach Dan Czepiga said. "Some people were saying he had it, some said he didn't. I don't know. When I looked down there after everything cleared out, it looked like he had the ball."
Duncan Torkelson had a chance to give the Cougars the first points of the game in the second quarter when the Chatham drive stalled at the 9 of Roxbury. Torkelson's 34-yard field goal attempt was wide (see below).
"We played better, we just couldn't finish," Czepiga said. "We went for the field goal there. He had the distance, he had the leg and it was just wide left. I feel for the seniors, it was a tough year. They came each week and they really battled."
Czepiga had to be happy with the final drive of the game as the Cougars started at their own 29 with 1:52 showing. Sophomore Peter Boyd sparked the potential scoring drive with his 56-yard burst to the Roxbury 15 (see below).
"We were on the 30-something yard line and we drove all the way down in just under two minutes," Czepiga said. "I'm sure it hurts for the seniors, but I'm very proud of them. We definitely came together at the end. The defense stepped up. Overall, the offense played better. Unfortunately, when that happened, it was our last game."
Chatham senior Luke McAloon, who started the season as the starting quarterback before switching to wide receiver, got a chance to show off his arm one more time when he took a handoff and connected with Owen Walewander for a 36-yard gain in the second quarter (see below).
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham led in the turnover category vs. Roxbury by forcing two turnovers and playing a clean game without any giveaways. Junior linebacker Luke Ehler recovered a fumble in the first quarter for the Cougars and senior Sean Pellegrin ruined a Roxbury drive with his interception for Chatham in the second quarter ... linebacker Owen Walewander had a sack for a 3-yard loss and also had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage for a two-yard loss.