Twenty-eight seconds left. The football is on the left hash mark. Fourth and two. Behind by one. Every kicker's dream.
Despite being heavily outgained (370-214 yards) in the game by the Trojans, the South Summit Wildcats eked out at 13-12 win at home Friday night. The Wildcats were aided by two missed field goals by the Trojans, as well as a missed PAT and failed two-point conversion. Both teams had entered the game ranked No. 1 in their respective classifications.
Early on, it looked like Morgan was going to dominate the game, moving the ball right down the field to the Wildcat 20. The drive stalled, and the Trojans lined up for the first missed field goal attempt. After a three-and-out by South Summit, Morgan again marched down the field in 8 plays, capped off by a 2 yard touchdown run by Kade Carrigan. The missed PAT left the score at 6-0.
The Trojans then held South Summit to another three-and-out, but the Wildcats defense rose to the challenge, and the first half settled into a defensive battle, in which South Summit held Morgan on two seperate fourth down attempts. The defense seemed to turn the momentum for the Wildcats, and after the second defensive stand, they took over at their own 23-yard line.
South Summit's stellar fullback Colby Averett started the drive with an 8 yard gain. South Summit quarterback Ty Jones connected with Jordan McNair on a 27-yard strike and then on the third play of the drive, lightning struck for the Wildcats. Jones kept the football on an option to the right side, and outran the Trojan defense 40 yards to the end zone. After the PAT, and despite being largely dominated in the first half, the Wildcats led 7-6, which ended up being the halftime score.
The Wildcats took the second half kickoff with momentum on their side, looking to add to the lead. However, on just the second play from scrimmage, the ball hit the carpet and was recovered by Morgan's Bridger Streadbeck at the Wildcat 26. Seven plays later, Carrigan walked two yards into the end zone through a huge hole made by the offensive line. A two-point conversion attempt failed, and Morgan's lead stood at 12-7.
The teams traded possessions and after Morgan was held to a punt attempt on fourth down from their own 13, a poor punt left the Wildcats in excellent field position at Morgan's 21. The Trojans' defense rose up, and held South Summit to just six yards on three plays. The Wildcats had a missed field goal attempt of their own and it looked like Morgan's lead was safe. Just two plays later, another costly mistake, this time a fumble, set the Wildcats up with a first and ten from the Morgan 12. Again the defense held, and again the Wildcats missed a FG attempt.
South Summit got one more chance with the football with just over 5 minutes left in the game. This time, they began gradually grinding out some yards, until on second and 12 from the Trojans' 46, Jones launched a floating spiral down toward the goal line, where Isaac Tillett made a great fingertip catch, and gave the Wildcats a 13-12 lead. However, their own two-point attempt was no good, and the lead stood.
Behind smashing runs by Carrigan and last week's hero Matt Murdock, Morgan bashed its way down to the Wildcats' seven yard line. With 28 seconds left, Parker Lucas lined up for the game winner. After a South Summit timeout, their last, the ball was snapped... the hold was down... and the kick... sailed just two or three feet wide right. Not the dream... the nightmare.
"We thought about going for it on fourth down," said Morgan Coach Kovi Christiansen. "But, if you don't make it, you don't really give yourself a chance. We need our kicker down the stretch this year, and we wanted to build some confidence for him."
The win for South Summit was the first against Morgan since 1994. "Since I've been here we've played them four times," Christiansen said. "Every game has been decided by a touchdown or less. They are a quality opponent."
South Summit was led by Jones 102 yards rushing and a touchdown, while Morgan's leading rusher was Carrigan, with 112 yards.
Morgan travels to face Ben Lomond next week, and South Summit is at ALA.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Utah and Santa Clara Law School and practices law in Heber, is a father of four, an avid fly-fisherman, and announcer of many Morgan High School sports events. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.