The first pass Cretin-Derham Hall quarterback Danny Callahan threw Thursday could not have gone worse. The final two passes of the night? Much better.
Trailing host Totino-Grace by a touchdown in overtime, Callahan hit senior wide receiver Peter Udoibok for a 10-yard touchdown on fourth down, then rolled right and hit receiver Rajiv Redd in the front corner of the end zone for a two-point conversion, lifting the Raiders to a 22-21 overtime victory.
"Peter and Rajiv are both playmakers," Callahan said. "Everyone knows about Peter's ability to go up and get that ball and I threw it in a spot where he could get it and he came down with it. It was a great all-around win."
Overall, Callahan had a productive night throwing the ball, completing 14 of 34 passes for 268 yards, three touchdowns and one very crucial two-point conversion. The way the game started, however, was less auspicious.
On Cretin-Derham Hall's second offensive play of the game, Callahan sailed a pass over the intended receiver and into the hands of Totino-Grace defensive back Christian Morel, who returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.
Less than a minute into the game, the Raiders trailed by a touchdown. But coach Brooks Bollinger wasn't worried. He knows what he has in Callahan: A cool-headed leader who doesn't look back.
"I didn't have to worry about Danny," Bollinger said. "He doesn't flinch. We knew he was just going to keep showing up."
The Raiders tied the game 7-7 on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to Chris Walsh, who took advantage of a Totino-Grace defensive miscue and was wide open down the right sideline.
Throughout the first half, both teams battled consistency. Callahan was picked off again when Udoibok slipped on a crossing route. Totino-Grace, meanwhile, struggled with injuries and inexperience and was forced to limit its playbook.
"We were just running all this vanilla stuff on offense," Eagles coach Jeff Ferguson said. "But that was all we had left."
Perhaps, but the Eagles had enough to retake the lead before halftime when quarterback Kristoff Kowalkowski threaded a pass to Patrick Doran on fourth down for a 14-7 lead.
Cretin-Derham Hall tied it up in the third quarter when Udoibok outjumped two defenders for the ball and raced into the end zone for a 49-yard score.
Both teams sputtered thereafter, resulting in the overtime.
Totino-Grace scored first on a 1-yard run by Gabe Vosen before Cretin-Derham Hall answered with the game-winning scores.
"It's game one and we have a lot to learn, but it's always fun to learn the lessons when you win," Bollinger said. "When you get than 1-0 under your belt, it feels good."
Despite the loss, Ferguson remained optimistic.
"It looked like a first game and that's OK," he said. "I care more about how we play in game 13 than in game one."