CENTRALIA — A touchdown by Bryce Hutchins with under a minute remaining in regulation lifted the St. Mary’s-Colgan High School football team to a 25-18 win over Centralia on Friday in the sectional round of the playoffs.
Trailing by one with just over a minute remaining in regulation, the Colgan Panthers began one final drive at midfield with the season on the line.
The Colgan Panthers came up empty on three consecutive passes down the field, but a pass interference call on fourth down moved the chains and kept hope alive for SMC.
Hutchins took over from there, as he picked up 33 yards on a quarterback scramble and was marked down at the one-yard line.
After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Hutchins finished the job by pushing into the end zone and giving SMC the lead with 30 seconds remaining.
An interception by Jeremiah Buche in Centralia’s final drive sealed the win for Colgan.
“I was so proud of how resilient our kids were,” SMC head coach Shawn Seematter said. “It could have been really easy for them to hang their heads and pack it in, but they didn’t. I’m so happy for Bryce. This was only his second full game at quarterback because of the injury, so for him to have that long run and to have the poise and composure was outstanding.”
SMC had a chance to take the lead earlier in the fourth quarter, but a missed field goal from 20 yards out gave Centralia the ball with the clock working in its favor.
The Centralia Panthers picked up 11 yards on the first down to begin the process a draining the clock, but the Colgan defense held strong after the first play to force a punt.
SMC picked up at midfield with one minute and 13 seconds left in the contest, but couldn’t get into field goal range on the first three plays of the drive.
Hutchins dropped back to pass on fourth down with the season on the line and threw an incomplete pass, but a pass interference called against Centralia gave SMC a fresh set of downs and kept hope alive.
After the officials moved the ball up to the Centralia 34-yard line, Hutchins broke loose on scramble and moved the Colgan Panthers down to the one-yard line where he immediately spiked the ball to stop the clock with 33 seconds remaining.
Hutchins pushed in on the quarterback sneak on the following play, before finding Buche in the end zone to complete the two-point conversion give Colgan a 25-18 lead with 31 seconds left in regulation.
The Centralia Panthers began throwing the football down the field in the next drive to keep hope alive, but an interception by Buche sealed the win for Colgan.
“I was just felt so elated, relieved and a million other things,” Seematter said. “I was relieved and excited to know that it was over and that we were going to win it.”
Colgan will host Olpe in sub-state at 7 p.m. on Friday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.