WARREN - South Range scored a touchdown with five seconds remaining in the game on Saturday to pull out a thrilling 34-30 victory against Warren JFK at Mollenkopf Stadium.
A Billy Goodall 2-yard run turned out to be the game-winner.
Trailing, 30-27, with 3:30 remaining, the Raiders traveled 80 yards on 17 plays for the decisive score. Quarterback Ryan Miller hit Goodall for 18 yards on a critical 4th-and-6 play at their own 24 with just three minutes left to play. Miller would hit 9 of 17 passes in the game for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
"We had three and a half minutes left and eighty yards to go," Miller said. "Some people may say the odds were against us, but the players had all the faith in the world. I had all the faith in the world. We have been practicing two minute (offense) a lot. So we had a lot of confidence going into that (situation). Plays were executed right and we got the plays when we needed them."
But after the Raiders had taken the ball down to the Eagles 1-yard line with thirteen second left, a quick run inside to Goodall was stuffed for a 1-yard loss. So the Raiders quickly spiked the ball and lined up to attempt a 19-yard field goal. However, after the Eagles called a timeout - in an attempt to ice the Raiders kicker Tyler Rothbauer - South Range head coach Dan Yeagley and his team decided to try their luck in a 4th-and-goal situation. That is when Goodall raced around right end to score the clincher.
"It was a total team effort, it really was," Yeagley said. "It was nice that (JFK) gave us that extra timeout. Not having that extra timeout, it would have been easy to kick the field goal, and an easy extra point was all that it was. When they called timeout we had a chance to talk about it more and regroup. The kids wanted it. They wanted to end it right then and there."
K: 6-9-0-15 - 30
K-Zallow 30 run (kick failed)
S-Goodall 4 run (Rothbauer kick)
K-Zallow Roscoe 6 run (kick failed)
S-Thorpe 67 pass from Miller (Rothbauer kick)
K-Bofenkamp 25 field goal
S-Thorpe 42 pass from Miller (run failed)
S-Allen 3 run Rothbauer kick)
K-Coates 25 pass from Roscoe (Bofenkamp kick)
K-Zallow 12 run (Zallow run)
S-Goodall 2 run (Rothbauer kick)
RUSHING-South Range, Billy Goodall 23-134;
PASSING-South Range, Ryan Miller 9-17-159-1;
RECEIVING-South Range, Zach Thorpe 5-122;
FUMBLE RECOVERIES-South Range, Joe Alessi.
Miller said he wouldn't have been satisfied with just a field goal attempt.
"We got all eighty yards down there, I didn't want a field goal," Miller said. "I wanted to win the game. "Offseason work right there. It was a team effort. I'm so proud of all my guys."
The first half of the game was a see-saw battle with JFK leading, 15-14, at the break. But the Raiders seemed to take control in the third quarter when Miller hit Zach Thorpe on a 42-yard touchdown pass with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter, and then Bryce Allen added a 3-yard run with just 52 seconds left in the frame to give his team a 27-15 lead.
However, that seemed to wake the Eagles up as they stormed back to score on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Michael Roscoe to Jacob Coates with 5:24 remaining in the fourth to cut the deficit to 27-22.
Then the Eagles pulled off an on-side kick following the score. The ball bounced around until the Eagles' Dante Munno recovered at the Raiders 38. From there the Eagles scored on a 12-yard run by Carl Zallow and a two-point conversion to go up 30-22.
That then set up the Raiders 80-yard game winning drive.
"It was a war," Yeagley said. "Just look at the score."