After squandering a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter, Bellarmine Prep got a big kick in the final seconds.
Bryce Bendixen’s 20-yard field goal lifted the Lions to victory, 27-24, over Emerald Ridge on Friday.
Bellarmine Prep (2-2) had a three-score lead heading into the game’s final quarter against Emerald Ridge (1-3), but after the Jaguars tied the game on three consecutive scoring drives, the Lions were able to move the ball down the field to give Bendixen his chance to win it.
Facing a third-and-10 from midfield, Christian Moore tried to hook up with Christian Brown (129 yards on five receptions) as the pair connected on big plays in the second half. Moore overthrew Brown, but a pass interference call on the Jaguars gave the Lions a fresh set of downs from the Emerald Ridge 25 with 1:11 left to play.
Several plays later, Bellarmine set up Bendixen’s kick on fourth down, leaving one second still left to play on the clock.
“You just try to tell them to just execute, and not make it a bigger situation than it was,” Bellarmine coach Brian Jensen said. “Just execute play by play and see where the chips fall.”
On the Lion’s final drive, the chips fell in their favor.
The game came to an end on the ensuing kickoff after the squib kick deflected off an Emerald Ridge returner on the ensuing kickoff and rolled out of bounds.
“When you throw the football down, sometimes it bounces right back to you,” Emerald Ridge co-coach Brian Anderson said. “Sometimes it bounds right, and sometimes it bounces left. That’s how the game went for us tonight.”
Emerald Ridge couldn’t find any answers for the game’s first three quarters, but after making a shift to Logan Skoda (14 for 23, 230 yards passing, three TDs) at quarterback, the Jaguars came roaring back in the fourth.
After Moore connected with Sam Behnke on a 25-yard pass to put Bellarmine up 24-0, Skoda led Emerald Ridge on three consecutive scoring drives that erased the Lions’ lead.
Skoda put Emerald Ridge on the board after connecting with Levi Sweem on a 5-yard curl route. The Jaguars followed it with a two-point pass to Chase McGuire and cut the lead to 24-8 with eight minutes left in the game.
“Logan took charge of the offense in the fourth quarter. We weren’t going to quit as a team,” said Sweem, who had four catches for 27 yards and a pair of scores. “We were going to fight until the end.”
Skoda connected with Andrew Boston (10 receptions for 127 yards) on a 35-yard pass down the sidelines, before finishing the drive with a 15-yard hookup between the pair that cut the lead to 24-16 after another two-point conversion.
The Jaguars’ defense gave the ball back to the offense with 3:15 left in the game, and after quick passes set up fourth-and-goal from the 5, Skoda hit Sweem for the second score of the night. After their third consecutive successful two-point conversion, Emerald Ridge had tied the game at 24-all with 1:57 left to play.
Plenty of time for Moore to lead Bellarmine into Bendixen’s field-goal range for the win.
“Lots of credit to them because they’re a good football team,” Jensen said. “This league is now going to be like that. Every week you’re playing great opponents, and all the credit to Emerald Ridge, to their staff and their kids. They played really hard.”
Bellarmine Prep will host Curtis (0-4) next Friday, while Emerald Ridge will play Rogers (0-4) in the King of the Hill rivalry game at Sparks Stadium.