Hamilton (Ariz.) football team stuns national power Bishop Gorman with 18-point comeback in final minute

·3 min read

Quarterback Nicco Marchiol didn't stick around for the wild celebration after he led Chandler (Arizona) Hamilton's comeback for the ages in Friday night's remarkable 25-24 victory over Las Vegas Bishop Gorman.

Too sick, he headed straight to the locker room.

Marchiol, playing beat up and refusing to leave the game, helped Hamilton cash in on two onside kicks in the final minute to lead the most shocking comeback win perhaps in the nation this high school football season.

He threw a 2-yard scoring pass to tight end Michael Masunas with 30 seconds left to cut the score to 24-17.

Then, after Jacob Medina's second straight on-side kick worked again and was recovered by Hamilton (3-0), Marchiol quickly led the Huskies 48 yards, ending it with a 22-yard strike to sophomore running back Nick Switzer with eight seconds to play cut it to 24-23.

No way Hamilton was going to go into overtime, not with the way Marchiol was going, not after how last year's Open Division championship game ended in a 23-21 loss to Chandler with a missed chip-shot field goal try in the end, after Marchiol was magnificent down the stretch in that game.

Hamilton players celebrate after a comeback win over Bishop Gorman on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
Hamilton players celebrate after a comeback win over Bishop Gorman on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

After a timeout, Marchiol took the snap out of shot gun and rolled to his left and bulled his way into the end zone to give Hamilton a 25-24 lead.

Bishop Gorman couldn't counter Hamilton's miracle, and Hamilton's sideline went crazy.

Switzer didn't stick around long enough to do interviews, after he leaped the six-foot high chain-link fence and ran up the stadium steps to find family.

"He's a tough kid," coach Mike Zdebski said of Marchiol. "He knows how to finish."

There was no quit in the West Virginia-bound senior Marchiol, who led the comeback in front of a national audience on ESPNU and before a packed crowd at home.

This was the biggest win in the Zdebski era at Hamilton, beating a team ranked No. 7 in the nation by USA Today, handing Bishop Gorman its first loss in four games after it looked like the game was over with less than two minutes to play.

Zdebski held onto his three timeouts and when the Huskies, who didn't have a second-half first down until the final seven minutes, moved into field-goal range for Matthew Krneta to kick a 46-yard field goal with 1:05 to play it cut the score to 24-10.

The onside kick by Medina on the ensuing kickoff recovered by Hamilton seemed to give the offense a big spark.

Marchiol ran for nine, Switzer ran for 17 and Marchiol found Masunas for the score.

Another onside kick was perfectly executed and the sideline erupted with 20 seconds to play.

"We worked all season on those," Medina said. "We knew it would come down to a big game and we'd use. We executed when we needed to."

Hamilton Huskies came back for a win over Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas in a nationally televised game Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
Hamilton Huskies came back for a win over Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas in a nationally televised game Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

But to do it twice in the final minute?

"That's sticking to our craft, what our coaches taught us," Medina said. "I think it really shows the rest of Arizona and the country what Hamilton High School is capable of."

This time, Marchiol hit Christian Anaya for 10 yards, then ran 15 yards before finding Switzer on the slant for the 22-yard score.

"They executed when they had to," Zdebski said. "We knew it was a 17-point game, so let's get three and worry about everything else later. We weren't about to go overtime."

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Hamilton (Ariz.) stuns Bishop Gorman in final minute