By now you all know how the Gibson Southern football game against Southridge ended.
I still cannot believe how it all unfolded.
Not because I don’t believe the Titans are a legit Top 10 team in Class 3A, I just did not see that ending!
And if you would have asked anyone in attendance, I am sure they would say the same.
With the way the first 43 minutes of the game transpired, I was certain it just was not going to be the Titans’ night.
One drive in the first half ended with an interception in the end zone — on an outstanding grab by the Southridge defensive back.
Another first-half drive ended with a missed field goal, which was well within Jake Novotny’s range — it just leaked a little left.
Southridge’s first touchdown came in the final minute of the first half. Taking nothing away from the Raiders’ quarterback Carson Niehaus, but he basically tossed a jump ball to the end zone which Garrett Voegerl made a heck of a catch.
Then on the Titan’s first possession of the second half, I thought they were going to take control of the game. They marched down the field and knotted the score.
The drive was the first time they looked in sync the entire game.
This was where they would flex their muscles.
Brad Springer took the ensuing kick 86 yards down to the Titans’ 6-yard-line.
Two plays later, the Raiders’ bruising fullback Cole Calvert scored from just outside the 2 for a 14-7 lead.
No problem, the Titans’ offense looked crisp on the opening possession so they can trade punches with the Raiders.
Then a pass from Allen was dropped and landed in the arms of Raiders’ defensive back Camden Gasser who returned it deep into Titans’ territory.
The Gibson Southern defense tightened up and forced a fourth-down play from the 17.
Again, Niehaus tossed up a jump ball into the endzone and this time Austin Kaeck made a great play on the ball for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
Niehaus, who took over under center for the Raiders in week three after Chase Taylor went down with a broken collarbone, had better numbers at this point of the game than the Division I recruit on the opposite sidelines.
I was fully convinced it just was not the Titans’ night and they would be heading into the sectional on a negative note.
But with 4:34 left on the game clock, the Titans flipped the switch.
A quick 6-play, 80-yard drive eclipsed just 41 seconds off the clock.
The Gibson Southern defense made a couple stops behind the line of scrimmage and forced Southridge into a third and long.
Niehaus dropped back to pass and yet another jump ball was thrown, only this time it was off the mark and the Titans got a quick stop.
But there was laundry on the field.
The Raiders’ receiver and a Titans defensive back got tangled up near the end of the play.
Defensive pass interference was called and the 10-yard penalty, on third and 10, extended the drive.
Both players were battling for the ball, but from my vantage point it looked like the officials made the right call in the end.
Gibson Southern was down to just one timeout left and was running short on time.
But again, the defense was up to the challenge and eventually got off the field with 61 seconds left.
But they needed to go 94 yards with no timeouts.
Allen hit Adam May for a quick 12-yard toss to move the chains on the first play.
Then two straight incompletitions brought up third-and-10.
Springer came up with a sack on third down, at the Titans’ 12.
And then came “the play.”
With precious time running off the clock, Allen calmly hurried the team to the line of scrimmage.
The Raiders’ rush from the left, flushed Allen to roll out right and now a miracle was going to have to happen with the play breaking down.
Again, Allen was cool, calm and collective.
He motioned for Seth DeLong to continue his route down the field and proceeded to hit him in stride just past midfield. DeLong turned on the jets and coasted into the end zone.
If the late Stuart Scott was still alive and calling the game, he would have described Allen as “being as cool as the other side of the pillow.”
I still cannot believe a high school sophomore showed that kind of poise and composure in such a high pressure situation.
Again, that is why so much DI teams are coveting him already.
“There was still time on the clock and I knew we had to make a play,” Allen said of the play.
And how about DeLong making the catch and finishing the play.
He had his man beat on the play, but with the game on the line, that was anything but a gimme.
Then came the two-point conversion.
Again, another busted play.
It was supposed to be Allen making the catch in the end zone, but the Raiders were all over the trickery.
So Ben Butler made the decision to cut it up and hopped into the end zone.
The way the Titans won could be the start of something special.
Titans’ coach Nick Hart described it a different way.
“I don’t want to say it’s a signature win, but we needed to get a win over a really good team,” he said.
It was just the third game against what most would call a good quality opponent. The Titans were 0-2 in the previous two such games — Class 6A Southport and 3A No. 3 Heritage Hills.
With the Patriots, Raiders and Titans all in the same sectional, what happens over the next three Friday night’s should be just as entertaining as last Friday night!
Travis David is the sports editor of the Daily Clarion. He can be reached at 812-220-4843 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.