With just over two minutes left on the clock, Notre Dame took a five-point lead over number one seed Dundee, but couldn't hold on as the Scotsmen engineered a nearly 80-yard drive to secure a 21-23 victory.
Notre Dame got the ball back with 36 seconds to play, but Tom Whelehan, who completed eight passes on the day for 159 yards and three TDs, was unable to connect on four attempts before time expired.
Dundee's final drive, Scotsmen head coach Sheldon Gibson said, was something the team had two weeks to work on following a forfeit by their first-around playoff opponent. Dundee made good use of the time, Gibson said, including designing and practicing the final touchdown play that won them the game.
Rick Mancuso said that winning play was really well executed.
"We’ve got some inexperienced kids and they were really jacked up," Mancuso said. "The took advantage of our aggressiveness."
A year ago in sectionals, Dundee literally ran away with the game, posting a lopsided 76-13 victory. It as a different story Saturday.
Notre Dame was never more than two scores down and grabbed a four-point lead with two minutes to go.
"Notre Dame came out ready to play, very tough, very well coached, without a doubt," said Gibson. "They were well prepared. They had our number, I’ll tell you that."
Mancuso said he was proud of his team.
"I thought the kids executed both offensively and defensively," said Mancuso. "We had a couple of turnovers, a couple of mistakes at inopportune times, and you can’t do that in this type of a ball game, but I was really proud of our kids for battling back."
Mike Pratt and Beau Richter lead the running game, with Pratt gaining 135 yards on 28 carries and Richter adding another 51 on nine carries, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
"Pratt and Richter were coming through very small holes at full speed," Gibson said. "That’s very tough to stop."
Doanne McCuley caught three passes for 78 yards, including a long of 41 yards, while Nate Woods caught three passes for 58 yards, including two TD receptions -- both on tipped balls. Tom Dehr made the go-ahead TD reception in the 4th quarter on a seven-yard pass from Whelehan.
Notre Dame had 362 total offensive yards compared to 284 for Dundee. The Irish also posted 21 first downs, compared to 14 for the Scotsmen. Time of possession also tilted in Notre Dame's favor, 36:08 to 23:52.
On defense, Whelehan had eight tackles with Pratt and McCulley having six each.
In other football action from yesterday: No. 1 seed Hornell beat No. 8 Batavia, 64-42; Wayland-Cohocton over Pembroke, 40-13.
Top photo: Nate Woods keeps his eye on a tipped ball before hauling it on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Whelehan. The TD at 7:30 in the fourth quarter put the Irish within four points of Dundee, 14-17. Below, R.J. Marchese, who has been out with an injury for four games, reacts to Dundee's final touchdown. Bottom photo, Woods celebrates a second quarter TD after catching a six-yard pass, also a tipped ball, from Whelehan. That first TD tied the score at 7-7.
More photos after the jump: