MERIDIAN, Idaho – As the ball sailed end-over-end through the uprights, Casey Bourque raced down the middle of the field, helmet raised in triumph and his Lake City teammates in hot pursuit.
A wild celebration ensued at Brighton Stadium – a party worthy of the barnburner that preceded it.
It was Bourque’s 22-yard field goal as time expired that gave Lake City a 39-37 season-opening victory over Rocky Mountain.
“Best feeling ever,” the senior kicker proclaimed. “It felt like we just won the Super Bowl.”
There were heroes to spare for the Timberwolves in this thriller, which avenged last year’s 63-41 season-opening loss to the Grizzlies.
Senior tailback Connor Newby rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, including an 84-yard scoring burst in the fourth quarter.
Standout receiver Jerry Louie-McGee was all over the field, amassing 131 yards on eight catches with two TDs.
Senior quarterback Michael Goggin was steady and decisive, completing 15 of 19 passes for 179 yards with two TDs and no picks while adding 57 yards, a TD and a 2-point conversion on the ground.
“It feels like a weight is lifted off our shoulders,” Newby said. “It was a business trip. We came here to win, and to pull out the ‘W’ like this, it’s amazing.”
The back-and-forth game featured three ties and six lead changes, including four in the final quarter, which began with the game tied 22-22.
Rocky Mountain QB Christian Blaser opened the fourth-quarter volley with a 3-yard TD run, and Louie-McGee tied it on a 10-yard TD catch on fourth-and-goal.
Newby’s 84-yard TD gave Lake City a 36-29 lead, but Jake Roper (199 yards rushing, two TDs) answered with a 4-yard run and a lunging 2-point conversion to give Rocky Mountain a 37-36 lead with 2:45 remaining.
But Lake City showed no panic. The Timberwolves marched methodically down the field, ran the clock down and, after three timeouts and an offside penalty, watched Bourque drill the game-winner.
“That was the longest 4.9 seconds of my life,” Newby said of the lead-up to the final snap.
Bourque wasn’t fazed.
“It wouldn’t have mattered how many timeouts they called – I was just going to keep my head down and hit it straight,” he said. “But it wasn’t just me who scored the points. It was Newby, and it was Jerry, and it was the blockers, the snapper and the holder. Everything was perfect.”
Even veteran coach Van Troxel was left breathless by the nerve-wracking final moments.
“Just an outstanding high school football game,” Troxel said. “Two very good teams playing hard and battling down to the very end. What an exciting game to be a part of.”