But after all of the moves and counter moves, Lexington High School had a playing piece Boiling Springs couldn’t checkmate.
Shaq Roland knifed through a seam on a two-point conversion play to lift the Wildcats (9-3) to a 22-21 victory against Boiling Springs in a 4A Division I first-round playoff game Friday night.
â€œWhen they came out after the first timeout, they were in a spread formation,â€ Boiling Springs coach Bruce Clark said. â€œWe had our big package in anticipating they were going to run the wildcat. So we countered during our timeout. Then they countered.
â€œOur last words out of the last timeout were, â€˜Don’t let No. 2 beat us,’ because we felt he was going to be in the mix somewhere. They were going to run the option there, but Roland kept it himself. He is a great athlete.â€
While Lexington’s gamble to go for two and the win in regulation paid off, the Bulldogs’ gamble nearly 6 minutes earlier did not. When Boiling Springs’ 4-minute drive stalled just past midfield, the Bulldogs tried to convert a fourth-and-3 without senior back Tyler Leath on the field.
Leath injured an ankle late in the third quarter after rushing for 116 yards on 15 carries. He returned for only one 3-yard carry the rest of the way.
The fourth-down play came up 2 yards short, setting up Lexington’s game-winning drive.
â€œWe left it up to the kids there on fourth down and they felt they could get it,â€ Clark said. â€œWe had gone for it countless times during the year, but I take full responsibility for going for it.â€
Boiling Springs (6-6) went 1-for-3 on fourth-down conversions against Lexington. The one fourth-down success came on a fake field goal. Holder Taylor Anderson connected with Shaquan Burney, who got behind two defenders in the corner of the end zone, for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
The play, with 6:18 left in the third quarter, gave Boiling Springs a 21-14 lead â€” the Bulldogs’ second lead.
The other lead came midway through the second quarter when Ty Garrett ran 17 yards for the Bulldogs’ second score. Hunter Cummins had plowed over from 4 yards out in the final minute of the first quarter to tie the game at 7.
â€œIt just leaves a tough taste in your mouth to work your way back and get into the playoffs and feel like you have a chance to win only to have it slip away at the end,â€ Clark said.