ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — There were plenty of smiles to start homecoming weekend in front of the bleachers at Charles L. Brown Stadium Friday night.
Anderson rallied from an eight-point deficit with eight minutes remaining to defeat Winton Woods 28-21 in an Eastern Cincinnati Conference football showdown.
"It was remarkable how our kids came back," Anderson coach Evan Dreyer said.
It was Anderson's first win over Winton Woods since 2009, according to Dreyer.
"It was the most fun I've ever had playing a game," Anderson senior wide receiver Evan Upchurch said.
"The energy from our team and the energy from their team - it just added up and it was a great game."
Upchurch was part of a two-point conversion play when he threw the football to junior quarterback Griffin Scalf in the end zone to tie the game at 21 with 6:47 left.
"That is just Evan Upchurch and Griffin Scalf having some fun before and after practice," said Dreyer. "They wanted to run it and it was really, really cool as a coach to see those guys succeed."
Scalf connected with junior wide receiver Santos Alvarez for a 29-yard touchdown pass a play earlier to close the gap on the Warriors' lead.
After the two-point conversion, Anderson senior linebacker Casey O'Toole recovered the onside kick to give the Raptors another scoring opportunity.
The Raptors converted a fourth down from the Warriors' 12-yard line and three plays later Scalf eluded two defenders to find senior tight end Brody Foley in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass connection with under two minutes left.
"He's a big target," Scalf said of Foley. "Just throw it up and he goes and gets it."
Foley, who is verbally committed to the University of Tennessee, said he saw Scalf look away and he found an open space in the end zone.
"It was a great play by him and a great play by our offense," said Foley, who also scored a first-half touchdown.
The Anderson defense was strong on the Warriors' final drive to seal the victory.
"I've been here six years now and the curse of beating Winton Woods," Dreyer said. "They're a great ball club. (Coach) Chad Murphy took over and it's one of those things to get over a little bit of a hump as we head toward the last three games. It's going to be really, really crucial to finish these three games strong as we end ECC play and head toward the playoffs in November."
Foley said he won't soon forget Friday night's game.
"It's amazing," Foley said. "It's a great feeling. I love coming out here every Friday with my boys and playing. It's special at home, it's homecoming, the fans are all out. It's an awesome feeling."
Anderson senior kicker Hayden Brooke had two field goals - including a 38-yarder and 29-yarder to help the Raptors (5-2, 4-1 ECC), who play at Milford Oct. 8.
Winton Woods senior running back Tyrek Spikes scored two rushing touchdowns and senior wide receiver Tai'je Frazier scored on a 48-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter for the Warriors (4-3, 3-2 ECC), who play at Turpin Oct. 8.