Can one of the best area games of 2012 really be played on a rainy Thursday night in the second week of the season, in front of 50,000 empty, wet Independence Stadium seats?
You bet it can.
Cedar Creek came back from a 21-point deficit at the end of three quarters to win 34-28 over Booker T. Washington Thursday night in one of the most up-and-down spectacles of high school sports imaginable.
“That was a special game,” Cedar Creek head coach Ben Haddox said. “This is something to build on. We have to get back to work, but I’m going to let them enjoy this one for a while.”
Two huge interceptions by Jacob Antee helped fend the Lions from marching down the field at the end of regulation.
“That was the greatest game I’ve ever been in,” Antee said. “This is huge for us.”
In the first overtime, both teams stayed even by failing to score from the 10-yard line after four downs.
The second overtime, however, was far more dramatic.
Cedar Creek had the ball first in the second overtime period, and scored on another pass from Mark Vandenlangenberg to Ryan Dwyer making the score 34-28. The Cougars then failed their 2-point conversion attempt.
Then it was the Lions’ turn. Down six with four downs to score, Antonius Cawthorne willed his team to the 1-yard line after three downs.
Cedar Creek stopped the Lions on the ensuing fourth-and-goal as students, parents, and fans stormed the field.
“Tip your hat to (Booker T. Washington), they played a hell of a game,” Haddox said. “We found a way to come out on top, and we can build off that. I’m really happy for our guys.”
As the rain began to descend upon the stadium, Lamarvis Jones’ 42-yard touchdown run put the Lions up 28-7 and all but washed away any hope of a Cougars resurgence.
“We got loud on that sideline,” Haddox said. “There were a few clipboards that didn’t make it to the end of the game. But our guys stayed focused, and just upped the intensity.”
Eight plays later, Grant Jonkheer scored on a 4-yard run to halve the Lions’ lead and end the third quarter.
Soon the wet conditions would take effect, leading to a bizarre fourth quarter and an ESPN Classic-style finish.
Cawthorne fumbled a snap that led to a quick scoring drive by the Cougars, capped by a 30-yard passing strike from Vandenlangenberg to Dwyer.
More fumbled snaps forced the Lions into a punt with 5 minutes left in the game and the Cougars trailing by only a touchdown. Three plays later, freshman running back Donald Jenkins scored on an 18-yard run to tie the score at 28 with 4 minutes left in the game.