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Derek Fortanell steps into the void and boots a pivotal extra point to complete Barlow's comeback

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Barlow senior Derek Fortanell swings his leg into a kickoff. He took on point-after duties in Fridays quarterfinal game, as well.

The Bruins had just found the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:31 to play, setting the stage for a vital extra-point attempt.

Hit the kick, and the Bruins go up four points. Mountainside would be forced to score a touchdown.

Miss the kick, and the Mavericks could force overtime with a field goal. And their talented kicker Tyler Dahlback, who had already nailed three of them earlier in the game — one from more than 40 yards away.

"It was a huge kick in the mathematical equation of the game," Barlow coach Terry Summerfield said.

That set the stage for Barlow senior Derek Fortanell, a kickoff specialist, who was kicking extra points on a Friday night for the first time.

"I practiced PATs all through the week, and went out there hoping for the chance," Fortanell said.

A false-start penalty on the Bruins moved back the attempt 5 yards.

No matter. Fortanell took his quick three steps, planted his foot in the ground and swung his leg through, sending the ball clean down the middle deep through the uprights.

"They backed it up, and I wanted to make that kick even more," Fortanell said. "I put a lot of effort into it, and it went in thank God."

The Bruins' kicking game took a hit three days before the playoffs when all-leaguer Abi Hoffman suffered a season-ending injury in the second round of the girls soccer playoffs.

"Ever since Abi went down we've been experimenting with kickers, knowing we needed to find a way to get those extra points," Summerfield said.

Fortanell went 2-for-3 in Friday's game.

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