Lake Forest stuns Delmar on bizarre final play

FELTON — Austin Aguilar stood in the end zone, raising the ball above his head for the whole stadium to see with one hand and motioning to the referees, or really anyone would listen, with his other.

Few people were paying any attention to Aguilar though. About 40 yards away from him, the Delmar High football team was in a dogpile, celebrating what it thought was its first victory of the season.

Finally the referees confirmed what Aguilar thought. He had scored a touchdown with no time remaining to give Lake Forest High a 19-14 win on homecoming Saturday afternoon in a Henlopen Conference Southern Division clash.

Aguilar, Lake’s senior kicker, was attempting a potential game-winning 18-yard field goal with a second left on the final play. But the kick was blocked and the Wildcats stormed upfield as their bench ran to mob the defense.

The ball never crossed the line of scrimmage which Aguilar realized meant the play was still live. He ran back to scoop it up around the 11-yard line and carried it for his first ever touchdown.

“I was standing there (in the end zone) waiting for someone to react to me,” Aguilar said. “Even my own teammates had no idea I was back there.”

(See WBOC’s video.)

“If anybody knew the ball would be live it would be him,” said Lake Forest coach Freddie Johnson. “He’s an intelligent boy. I’m not surprised.”

Aguilar’s touchdown led to a surreal scene — both teams were celebrating at the same time thinking they had won the game.

Once they realized what was happening, the Wildcats ran back for an explanation from the referees. Delmar coach Dave Hearn admitted after the game that he never heard a whistle.

“It’s a live ball until they blow the whistle,” Hearn said.

It’s been an eventful season for Aguilar who decided to play football again as a senior after two years away from the sport to play soccer. Just last weekend he kicked what turned out to be the game-winning field goal in a 9-7 victory at Woodbridge and also kicked a pivotal extra point in a 14-13 win in the second week of the season against St. Mark’s.

How did Aguilar know his blocked kick was still a live ball when everyone else on the field didn’t?

“I’ve seen the defense run it back in the other direction so I knew I could do it the other way,” he said.

Lake Forest (2-0 South, 3-2 overall) was fortunate to even be in the situation where it had a chance to win the game at the final whistle.

The Spartans stopped Delmar on fourth down to take over at their own 36 with 3:26 left. The Wildcats missed that first down by a matter of inches, two different referees had to crouch down to see where the tip of the football was in relation to the marker before they finally motioned it was Lake Forest’s ball.

Lake Forest kept its drive alive on third-and-long with an 18-yard pass from senior quarterback Noah Feague-Johnson to Ben Moore. The Spartans were then helped by a defensive pass interference call to bring them down to Delmar’s 15.

With the Spartans out of timeouts, Feague-Johnson made sure to get out of bounds on an option-keeper to bring the ball inside the 10. Moore carried the ball on the next two plays and gained a first down but the senior was kept out of the end zone.

The clock kept running after Moore’s final carry which left the Spartans scrambling, with Feague-Johnson picking players up off of the pile and offensive linemen throwing each other into position, to set up for a spike to stop the clock.

Like everything else in the final 3:30, it worked out for Lake Forest. Feague-Johnson spiked the ball with a second left on the clock.

Johnson offered up his best guess at an explanation for why things happened to go the Spartans’ way at the end.

“I don’t know, I went to Bible study this morning,” he said.

Delmar dropped to 0-5 with the latest instance of bad luck for the Wildcats who were thought to be Henlopen South contenders after ending last season with wins in five of their last six games.

The Wildcats had already lost a double overtime game to Caravel Academy and suffered a two-point loss to St. Mary’s (Md.) entering Saturday.

“We’re a little snakebit at times,” Hearn said.

And the Spartans are no strangers to close contests either.

Prior to Saturday, their last three games were decided by a total of four points. Every Lake Forest game this season has been decided by eight points or less.

“I trust my team,” Feague Johnson said. “We’ve been in plenty of games like this. It’s always been like this. You just got to have confidence in yourself.”

“Luckily we have some smart kids on our team,” Feague-Johnson added. “We got lucky. We honestly got lucky.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.