The clock showed 0:00.
The score was 21-19. Randolph’s miracle season and 47-game winning streak looked like it was over.
After four perfect years, there would be no fifth straight championship. The favored Mounties, the No. 1 team in the state would beat No. 2 Randolph.
Seventeen days after the death of their beloved coach John Bauer Sr., the Rams had run out of miracles in the 1990 NJSIAA North 2 Group IV championship game.
Montclair fans rushed the field as the dejected Rams walked to back their sideline.
A legendary coach, Bauer had planned on retiring after the 1990 season but insisted that he wouldn’t quit until the team lost. He said he didn’t want his son, who was an assistant with the team and had been tapped to takeover as head coach when his father retired, to carry the burden of Randolph losing its first game.
The next moments on Dec. 1, 1990 are the things Hollywood movies are made of. It was as if Bauer, who had coached Randolph since 1965, performed a miracle so his Rams dream season wouldn’t end with a loss.
It turned out that the Montclair fans had rushed the field prematurely while there was still some time on the clock so Montclair was whistled for delay-of-game. The fans had to be pushed off the field. Six seconds were put back on the clock and Montclair was forced to punt from inside their own 10-yard-line.
The kick went up, straight up, coming down somewhere around the 20 yard line into the arms of Billy Williams of Randolph who smartly called for the fair catch as he went down to one knee, stopping the clock.
It was then that quarterback Mike Groh stepped back on the field for the last time as a high school star and attempted only his second field goal of the year. With one second left, Eric Schaeb took the snap and Groh took two steps before kicking the football 37 yards through the uprights leaving 12,000 fans in the stadium stunned.
The score was now 22-21, the Randolph Rams were the State Champions, their win streak alive at 48 games.
Daily Record Photographer Bob Karp shot the Randolph vs. Montclair game on Dec. 1, 1990.