With the Philadelphia skyline providing the backdrop to a football field filled with players who stood tall, a 5-foot-8 senior came up the biggest of them all.
West Catholic senior Jacir Savoy (No. 31) caught junior quarterback Zaire Hart-Hawkins' pass for the game-winning two-point conversion on Saturday afternoon to give the Burrs a 36-35 overtime victory against an upstart Archbishop Carroll squad at Drexel's Vidas Athletic Complex.
>>PHOTO GALLERY: West Catholic 36, Archbishop Carroll 35
In the overtime, Carroll senior Raphael Manning scored on the third play. The Burrs (3-1) started with a holding penalty but scored on Hart-Hawkins' 15-yard pass to junior receiver Julio Dasilva.
Trailing by a point, coach Brian Fluck called timeout before his offense set up for a two-point conversion. Carroll countered with a timeout, allowing the Burrs to make a critical adjustment.
Assistant coach Bruce Mapp instructed Savoy to start right but line up left and run to the flat after the snap, the running back and receiver said.
The move worked, giving Savoy a jump on Carroll junior linebacker Richard Kimmel, who was stellar all day.
"Next thing you know, the ball was right there, and I just made a play," Savoy said.
Hart-Hawkins said the pass had to be in front of Savoy, but the quarterback couldn't be sure by how much."My heart just stopped," he said with a grin.
But when he saw Savoy snare it?
"It was everything," said Hart-Hawkins, whose family attended the game wearing gray T-shirts bearing his name. "Blood running through your body. It was crazy."
So was the celebration, replete with a running handspring-backflip by junior receiver Justino Griggs.
Savoy was relaxed by comparison.
"This is what I do, bro," he said as teammates mobbed him. Later, voice low and almost to himself, he muttered, "I live for moments like this."
He's not kidding. As a child, he was so excited about playing football that he would wear his football pants underneath his Wister Elementary School uniform, his mother, Aliyah Savoy, said in a phone interview.
On Saturday, Savoy's moment came after a back-and-forth affair.
The Patriots (2-1), led by first-year coach Kyle Detweiler, sprinted to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, started by Kimmel forcing a fumble and recovering it in the end zone.
Junior quarterback Russell Minor-Shaw built on the lead by hitting Dan Morgan for a 24-yard touchdown on fourth-and-19.
An interception by senior Zebby Zarwie followed, but Carroll couldn't capitalize. Instead, a West Catholic interception by junior Zahir Booker led to Savoy's first score, a 25-yard burst that gave the Burrs life.
"Big-time players play in big-time games, and I'm a big-time player," said Savoy, who finished with two touchdowns and 70 yards on 19 carries. His second TD was a 1-yard run that pulled the Burrs to within a point of the Patriots, at 21-20, in the third quarter.
Hart-Hawkins started the quarter with a 60-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Seth Degree (3 catches, 108 yards), who later struck again for a 44-yard score that gave the Burrs a 28-21 lead at the 6:51 mark. Hart-Hawkins finished with 10 completions on 18 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns.
A blocked punt by Booker followed, but the Burrs again failed to capitalize.
The Patriots' Minor-Shaw was under pressure much of the game but completed 8 of 17 for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
A 15-yard touchdown pass to Koran Butler (2 catches, 78 yards) and Juliano Mastrocola's extra point tied the game with 6 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in regulation.