“You don’t experience heartbreakers often, Beaufort head coach Mark Clifford said. “Tonight was pretty dang close.”
If it wasn’t a heartbreaker, it’s hard to know what would be.
Leading 28-27, Beaufort (5-6) gave up a touchdown with less than a minute left and fell 35-28 at Midland Valley in the Class 3-A playoffs.
The Eagles had stopped the Mustangs on fourth down late in the fourth quarter. It looked like they’d run out the clock.
“We couldn’t get a first down,” Clifford said. “We had our opportunities. They made a couple of big plays, and scored with 20 seconds left.”
Omar Cummings took the kickoff back into Mustangs territory, but the Eagles couldn’t pull off the miracle, missing on two desperation plays before a Connor Gruel interception.
Down 21-7 at the half and 27-7 early in the third quarter, Beaufort clawed all the way back into the lead at 28-27 with an 80-yard touchdown run by Omar Cummings giving the Eagles the edge.
“I thought we deserved to win the game,” Clifford said. “The kids did a great job coming back, and that’s always a great feeling. I thought we had it won. All we had to do was get us a first down.”
Gruel threw two touchdown passes in the game, one to John-Ryan Goneke and the other to Cummings. Kyleik Middleton, added a touchdown run, as well.
“We started with a young team, half with no varsity experience,” Clifford said. “We ended up, through hard work and dedication, a pretty good football team.
“We should be going to the second round of the playoffs.”