Amherst's receiver Matt Fairchild shows who ended up with a ricocheting touchdown pass at the end of the second quarter. Roger Sommer/ Chronicle
AMHERST — A game that featured almost 1,200 yards of total offense came down to a matter of inches.
Amherst safety Joey Tomaro stopped Berea-Midpark receiver Garrett Waite inches from the end zone on a fourth-and-goal play late in the game as Amherst remained undefeated with a 45-38 Southwestern Conference shootout win.
An offensive pass interference call in the end zone backed Berea-Midpark (3-2, 3-1 SWC) up from the Comets’ 7-yard line to the 22. Three plays later, Titans quarterback Trevor Bycznski, a Rice recruit, hit Waite in stride on a slant at the 1. He lowered his shoulder to try to go through Tomaro, but was stopped just short.
Amherst (5-0, 4-0) took over at its own 1-yard line with 3:04 left and when Dan Makruski picked up 27 yards around right end on third-and-2, the Titans, who were out of timeouts, were helpless to stop the clock.
“I knew either they were going to score a touchdown to tie or I could step up and make a big play,” Tomaro said. “(Waite) is a very good receiver and I was just happy I could step up for my team and make a big tackle.
“It felt great to see the entire crowd going crazy for this team. I’m so proud of these boys here. They never gave up.”
Berea-Midpark coach Jon Hunek wasn’t convinced Waite was kept out of the end zone.
“It was tough to get that call at the end of the game where clearly he was in, but no one was in position to make the call,” he said. “That kind of stinks but at the end of the day there were plenty of plays we left out there. That doesn’t tell the tale of the game.”
Bycznski torched the Comets for 548 yards through the air with three touchdowns, but Amherst coach Mike Passerrello said his defense came through when it mattered most.
“We needed an impact play, a play that was going to decide the game. Joey stepped up,” he said. “It was inches. This was a great high school football game and we came out on top. I’m really proud of our players battling and not stopping.
“Our defense struggled all night, but they never stopped battling. That allowed us to end the game.”
Comets senior tailback Khennedy Scagliozzo ran the ball 34 times for 271 yards and a touchdown, giving him 1,104 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season.
Makruski carried the ball 13 times for a career-high 143 yards and three touchdowns as the Comets rolled up 442 rushing yards.
“Danny was a big spark tonight,” Passerrello said. “Obviously they were keying on Khennedy and doing some different things to take away our passing game. It opened up some things for Danny and he did a great job of seeing the hole and making big plays out of it.”
Makruski scored on runs of 6, 8 and 48 yards. His 48-yard sprint around left end broke a 38-38 tie with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter.
“This win was a great team win, from all around, from all positions,” Makruski said. “Our offensive line did a great job and it felt great to know we were going to be able to run the ball because of that line up there.”
The Titans had 657 yards of total offense, but hurt themselves with two lost fumbles in the first half and three 15-yard personal foul penalties on defense.
“We gave them some short fields with the turnovers, which I think really hurt us,” Hunek said. “They didn’t do anything to really stop is. We fumbled the ball twice and it hurt. It’s up to our kids to respond.
“Two or three personal fouls that hurt us and extended their drives, and the two fumbles in the first half were brutal.”
The Comets are tied with Avon Lake for the lead in the Southwestern Conference with a road showdown with Olmsted Falls next week. Passerrello hopes his players remain hungry.
“We’re happy with where we’re at,” he said. “Any time you can finish the first half of the season undefeated you’re happy. We also know that each game gets tougher. We have a tough Falls game next week.
“We don’t want to be satisfied. I hope our players aren’t satisfied, and I don’t think they are.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amherst 45, Berea-Midpark 38
Berea-Midpark 7 10 14 7 — 38
Amherst 3 21 14 7 — 45
BM — Bryce Agnew, 15 run (Nicholas Ruggerio kick)
A — Erik Henderson, 36 field goal
A — Khennedy Scagliozzo, 3 run (Henderson kick)
BM — Dwayne Holland, 48 pass from Trevor Bycznski (Ruggerio kick)
A — Daniel Makruski, 6 run (Henderson kick)
BM—Ruggerio, 30 field goal
A—Matt Fairchild, 5 pass from Jimmy Schill (Henderson kick)
A—Schill, 1 run (Henderson kick)
BM—Bycznski, 3 run (Ruggerio kick)
A—Makruski, 8 run (Henderson kick)
BM—Agnew, 37 pass from Bycznski (Ruggerio kick)
BM—Holland, 52 pass from Bycznski (Ruggerio kick)
A—Makruski, 48 run (Henderson kick)
First downs 28 30
— by rushing 7 23
— by passing 21 5
— by penalty 0 2
Yards rushing 109 442
Yards passing 548 68
Total offense 657 510
Passes att./comp. 44/30 11/9
Intercepted by 0 0
Fumbles/lost 3/2 0/0
Penalties/yards 5/57 3/30
RUSHING — (BM) Bryce Agnew 8-60, Jabriel Williams 4-32, Anthony Miller 1-16, Trevor Bycznski 3-1. (A) Khennedy Scagliozzo 34-271, Dan Makruski 13-143, Jimmy Schill 13-28.
PASSING — (BM) Bycznski 30-54-548-3-0. (A) Schill 9-11-68-1-0.
RECEIVING — (BM) Garrett Waite 13-197, Dwayne Holland 6-149, Omar Siggers 5-63, Agnew 3-78, Jon Lyons 3-41. (A) Makruski 3-24, Max Strauser 2-20, Matt Fairchild 2-13, Nathan Soto 1-(-4), Aidan Johnson 1-15.