With only three seconds to go in the Northern Region Football semifinal, Oakton High quarterback Kyle Downer tucked the ball, scrambled to his right and dove into the end zone after a 6-yard run as time expired, lifting the Cougars over Centreville with a thrilling 14-13 victory.
Oakton's hard-nosed defense held the Wildcats to one touchdown in the first half, but the offense had trouble finding the end zone. After halftime, Oakton came back to tie the game 7-7 with an impressive scorring drive in the the third quarter that culminated in a 9-yard pass to tight end Greg Derosa.
When the Wildcats went ahead with a fourth quarter touchdown, Andy Boone charged in from the left and blocked the extra point, a play which proved huge for the Cougars down the stretch.
Oakton drove down to the 5-yard line late in the fourth quarter, but came up empty on fourth and goal when Downer missed Derosa in the end zone.
The defense stepped up to the challenge, pinning the Wildcats in their own territory and forcing them to punt just before the two minute warning.
Down 13-7 with just over two minutes left on the clock, Oakton's offense came alive. Kyle Downer completed two passes for first downs and rushed twice, scampering out of bounds each time to stop the clock and set up the heart-stopping final play.
After taking a few moments to celebrate with the fans, the team settled into a final huddle where Coach Jason Rowley gave out two game balls. The first he gave to Kyle Downer for his game winning touchdown, stating "This was a legendary play for Cougar's football." The second game ball he gave to the entire Cougars team for the outstanding effort they made to clinch the victory.
The Cougars will seek their first Northern Region title since 2008, facing undefeated and top-seeded Westfield at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. When the Cougars and Bulldogs met earlier this season, the Bulldogs topped the Cougars 28-14.
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