Junior tight end Parker Underwood was open in the end zone and waiting for a fourth-down pass from junior quarterback Reece Piotter that would put East Lansing ahead in overtime.
But Holt senior defensive back Romeel Dozier got just enough of a piece of the football with his hand to cause the pass to fall incomplete.
Senior kicker Collin Klisch then hit a 21-yard field goal on the Rams’ first possession of overtime to lift Holt to a 24-21 victory over the Trojans on Friday night in a battle of teams who were tied for first place in the CAAC Blue.
“(My view) was kind of blocked, and it looked to me like he made the catch,” Holt coach Al Slamer said. “But everyone on the sideline was excited.
“Dozier came off his coverage, and tipped it just enough so he couldn’t make the catch.”
The victory means Holt (3-0, 3-2) will play a team tied for first place in the CAAC for a third consecutive week on Friday when the Rams host Sexton. Holt knocked Everett from the ranks of the unbeaten last week.
But the Rams had to rally from a 14-0 deficit to hand East Lansing (2-1, 3-2) its first league loss.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” Slamer said. “They’re senior-dominated and never get too high or too low. Any time you can come back from a deficit against a team like East Lansing, it’s a great reflection on their character.
“When we were down 14-0, we said let’s get one back.”
The Rams did just that with 43 seconds left in the first half when Ty Glover went left for a yard with the defense expecting a plunge into the center of the line.
Holt then tied the game 14-14 on a 31-yard pass from senior quarterback Eric Potter to Dozier.
“Potter was throwing with great consistency and accuracy,” said Slamer.
Potter completed 13 of 18 passes for 215 yards (and no interceptions) that included a second 31-yarder to Dozier which put Holt ahead 21-14.
“Dozier’s catch at the back of the end zone dragging his feet was tremendous,” Slamer said.
“We had two opportunities after the 21 unanswered points swung the momentum their way,” Feraco said. “But we got a penalty (that made a field goal try a) little bit long for Andrew (Petersmark) to get that one (from 40 yards out), but almost.
“After all that, we gathered some of our poise, and we went down and did the things we do well and we got the score.”
Senior running back Faymous Tyra got the last three yards for his second TD. Tyra finished with 22 carries for 76 yards, while fellow senior running back Marq Adams managed 106 yards on 21 carries for the Trojans.
Senior Londell Nelson caught a 23-yard pass from Piotter to open the scoring for East Lansing. He grabbed the pass between Holt sophomore Trent Stone and Dozier.
“Londell has been working his way up the depth chart,” Feraco said. “He did come through tonight with a couple of very nice catches.”
Slamer especially enjoyed the line matchup of Holt senior Dakota Lawhon against East Lansing senior Patrick Moriarty.
“That’s going to be fun to watch those two go at it when we look at the film,” he said. “He’s a really good lineman, and it was a really good battle.”