Detroit King, which trailed by as many 18 points in the third quarter, had the ball on its 3-yard line, trailing, 38-34, with only 37 seconds left on the clock.
“Give me some time back here,” King quarterback Armani Posey told his offensive linemen.
That was the first incredible part of this game — which King marched down the field to win, 40-38 — that Posey was the quarterback. He had been a wide receiver for the first three games.
But then the starter broke a team rule, and King coach Dale Harvel inserted Posey.
“He was the next guy who had the quarterback experience,” Harvel said.
Yes he was. But when did Posey get his experience at quarterback?
“Little league,” Posey said. “That’s it.”
Harvel shrugged his shoulders. He had no other real option other than Posey.
“Well, that’s what we had,” Harvel said. “He was our third quarterback, but in order to throw the football consistently we had to use Posey because he’s more of a true passer, even though he never played quarterback.”
But on Friday afternoon at Ford Field — especially on one of the greatest drives in state championship game history — Posey looked like Tom Brady, completing 19 of 27 passes for 383 yards with five touchdown passes.
With the ball on the 3, Posey quickly passed 22 yards to Lavert Hill and then found Donnie Corley for 10 yards. After an incompletion he fired a 25-yard strike to Donte Boyd, who was knocked into next week and had to be helped from the field.
Boyd’s catch put the ball at the Lowell 40-yard line, and only 10 seconds were left.
“To me,” Corley said, “that was the biggest play of the game.”
One incompletion later, just two seconds remained when King broke the huddle and Corley lined up split to the left.
“I saw the corner trying to tell the safety to get over the top,” Corley said. “But he wasn’t listening to him so I knew I was one-on-one.”
Posey noticed the same thing and nodded to Corley — the best receiver in the state who is trying to decide between attending Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame — who nodded back.
“I looked at him; he looked back,” Posey said. “It was that connection.”
On the sidelines, Harvel knew what he hoped would happen.
“When I didn’t see the safety move over, I repeated: ‘Throw it to Donnie, throw it do Donnie,’” Harvel said. “Could nobody hear me, but I repeated it over and over.”
Posey received the snap from center and had about a day-and-a-half to look around before he launched a pass toward Corley streaking into the end zone.
“I knew that I put the ball in the right area,” Posey said. “We work on that in practice all day, every day.”
As he watched the ball come his way, a moment of panic set in.
“I think I’m about to be out of bounds in the back of the end zone,” Corley thought. “I took a quick look and I saw I was in bounds.”
Then it became a matter of outjumping the Lowell cornerback, who had good coverage on him.
Corley, 6-feet-2, said he has a 37-inch vertical leap.
“I needed all 37 on that play,” he said, shaking his head.
At the peak of his jump, Corley snatched the ball — and the Division 2 state championship — out of the air and fell to the ground in the back corner of the end zone, giving King a heart-stopping victory over an inspired Lowell team.
And like a Michigan State game, King took its only lead of the game with 0:00 left on the clock.
“That’s amazing,” Corley said. “Who would have thought?”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.