WILMINGTON – Resilient. That's what the Oregon Hawks are.
They could have gotten deflated by not getting a first down in the first quarter.
They could have hung their heads when one of their top running backs left with an injury in the second quarter.
They could have gone down the tubes over an apparent bad call. A Wilmington punt was ruled to have touched Oregon’s Nick Newman and was recovered by the Wildcats deep in Hawks territory. The call resulted in a quick touchdown.
They could have gone away quietly when they turned the ball over on downs with 1:27 to play and trailing 21-14.
They didn't do any of those things. The Hawks just kept fighting and kept believing.
"That's the one thing that this group has done. They haven't got down," Oregon coach John Bothe said. "It's a pretty persistent group. That's probably the biggest difference from last year to this year. It's not talent. They just don't get dejected. They don't give up."
That belief led to the winning two-point conversion decision and execution.
"You want to make sure the kids are on board with that," Bothe said. "It's going to decide the game. You're going to win or lose right there. The kids wanted to go for two, and we as coaches decided to go for two."
Senior Sawyer Reynolds, who scored the winning two points on a run, wasn't going to be denied with his and many of his teammates' season and career on the line.
"Everybody believed, and we did it," Reynolds said. "My feet were chopping until I got in that end zone. There was no way I would let my team down like that. There was no stopping me."