The final three seconds were slow-motion agony for everyone who had sat through an aggravating sprinkle that opened into a downpour.
For 47 minutes and 57 seconds, Boyd-Buchanan and Red Bank had played bounceback in a Finley Stadium game that was moved from Red Bank after rain and lightning forced postponement Friday.
It was a senior who ultimately made the difference, and for once it was not Boyd-Buchanan quarterback Jim Cardwell but kicker Brogan Baker, who centered a 22-yard field goal as time expired to lift his team to a 43-41 victory over the Lions.
"I haven't had many chances like that," Baker said. "[Teammates] told me to shake off that [earlier] missed PAT. They had trust in me and I had trust in the snap, hold and blocking--and the celebration afterward was quite awesome."
There were six lead changes.
"That was a fun game, the game that you want," Red Bank coach E.K. Slaughter said. "We told our guys at halftime we had to make one more [big] play than them, and they made one more play than us. I don't think we lost the game. I think they won it. One thing we can take away from this is that our kids are going to play hard.
"That little [Cardwell] is tough to deal with, and he got it done, and his dad's [Carter] a heck of an offensive coordinator."
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound son, entering his fourth year to start for the Buccaneers, ran for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion and passed for two scores.
"I never had any doubts. Since my sophomore year, it seems like it had to be clutch every time," quarterback Cardwell said. "We believe that fourth quarter is our team. Sometimes you want to doubt yourself and the guys next to and around you, but we didn't go to Fort Bluff (seven preseason days and 15 practices) to lose. We didn't work since January to come out here and doubt each other."
Boyd-Buchanan coach Grant Reynolds began putting faith in Cardwell years ago.
"He's a special kid, a hard-nosed player and a good leader, and when the game hangs in the balance you want the ball in the hands of your best player," the coach said.
He was glad to survive the shootout.
"Red Bank has a great football team," he said. "Those kids fought tooth and nail, but I'm proud of our kids' resiliency. We had a great offense and two stops each half, and that was the difference in the game."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at twitter.com/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...