ST. GEORGE — Some folks in southern Utah call him The Riverboat Gambler. Now we know why.
Cedar coach Todd Peacock called for a fake extra point with 21 seconds left and speedster Nick Burns made it count as Cedar knocked off Pine View 29-28 at Panther Stadium on Friday night.
As Burns dove across the goal line with a trio of Panthers hanging on him, Peacock said he could hardly believe it.
"I don't know how he did that," the Redmen's 20-year head coach said. "It was a pass-run option and I thought he tucked the ball a little too early. But he got outside the contain and just willed himself across the line."
It was a miracle of sorts that the Cedar squad was even in a position to win the game. Midway through the third quarter, Pine View held a 21-7 lead and had a third-and-goal from the Cedar 1-yard line.
"These little battlers never give up," Peacock said. "I thought we had no business being in the game with this (Pine View) team. But these kids don't care what the score is. They'll just keep bringing it until the final gun."
Cedar held on that third down and the Panthers, eschewing a chip shot field goal that would have made it 24-7, passed the ball incomplete on fourth down.
The Redmen then responded with a 10-play, 99-yard drive that made it 21-14 with 2:18 left in the third quarter after a six-yard TD pass from Carson Ludlow to Chance Bearnson. After stopping Pine View on another third down, Cedar embarked on a 69-yard drive that ended when Ludlow dove into the end zone with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers, led by sharp passing quarterback Alec Mecham, responded with an 11-play, 80-yard march that gave them the lead when Mecham found tight end Cole Wilstead from 21 yards out. That strike came with 2:54 left and left Cedar with a do-or-die scenario with only one timeout left.
After a squib kickoff gave the Redmen the ball at their own 41, Cedar marched the distance in 2:23 with Ludlow finding Jon Jones from 10 yards out to pull within 28-27.
Then came the fake extra point. Peacock said he had contemplated going for two on the previous score, but his assistants talked him out of it.
"That last TD we knew for sure we would try to win it and not go to overtime," he said. "Nick (Burns) is another one of those fast little guys that would do anything you ever asked of him. I'm just amazed he got into the end zone."
Mecham had an impressive 415 yards and three TDs passing on a 28-of-47 night. He also rushed for a score.
Cedar (5-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 9) had zero passing yards at halftime. But a team that normally attempts about seven passes a game saw QB Ludlow go 11-of-17 for 152 yards and a pair of TDs in the second half.
Wilstead caught 11 passes for 136 yards and Conner Murdock had seven grabs for 137 yards for Pine View, which fell to 3-2 and 1-1.
Murdock's TD came on a nifty one-handed, catch-and-run play that covered 69 yards.