Mayde Creek’s dramatic 51-48 win over Aldine Nimitz proved the truth of the cliché that a team must play all four quarters.
The winning play came with only six seconds left in the game, when quarterback Keyonte Fiakpul scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak to put the Rams ahead for good.
The winning drive came about thanks to a poor snap from center on a Nimitz punt play. The Cougars turned the ball over on downs to the Rams at the Nimitz 31 with 1:29 left. The Rams took things from there.
“We’ve been talking about that (playing all four quarters) since we opened up camp,” Rams Coach Mike Rabe said. “It’s a four-quarter game. You just keep grinding it out, and you keep playing as hard as you can, and let the chips fall where they will. It panned out really good for us tonight.”
The game was Mayde Creek’s homecoming, and it was the first game played at the new Legacy Stadium.
“It was never really brought up, but you knew what you were doing when you were driving over here,” Rabe said. “This was the first night it was opening up, and you wanted to leave a good mark. I think it was in the back of everybody’s minds.”
Both sides brought their offenses to the game. Nimitz’s Deontae Stanley scored the first touchdown in the new stadium, a two-yard plunge with 6:51 in the first quarter. His run came on a fourth-and-goal situation and capped a 54-yard drive.
The Rams needed only two plays to tie the score. On a second-and-10 from the Rams 20, Fiakpul completed a 80-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Ikenna Nsoedo. Tony Casas kicked the extra point.
Casas connected on a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give the Rams a 10-7 lead.
The Cougars had to punt when they got the ball back, but they got a break when the ball hit a Mayde Creek player and the Cougars recovered at the Rams 1. Stanley scored on a one-yard run, with the extra point putting the Cougars back in front, 14-10, with 5:37 left in the first half.
The Rams came back with another long touchdown pass, this one for 75 yards. Fiakpul avoided a rush and rolled to his right on the play, hitting junior wide receiver Jalon Strong, who had just gotten past his defender. Casas’s extra point gave the Rams a 17-14 lead at this point.
The Cougars responded with a 48-yard touchdown run by Tobarick Kenney to take a 21-17 lead.
The Rams got another long touchdown pass, as Fiakpul hit Strong for a 72-yard score. Casas’s extra point put the Rams back in the lead, 24-21.
The Cougars came back with a one-play drive, a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to Kenney, to take back the lead at 28-24.
Fiakpul hit Nsoedo for another touchdown pass, this one for nine yards. Casas’s extra point gave the Rams a 31-28 lead going into halftime.
The teams were scoreless for most of the third quarter, but Nimitz’s Darius Ruffin scored on an 18-yard run at the 3:30 mark. The extra point attempt was blocked, but the Cougars had reclaimed the lead, 34-31.
The Rams responded with Fiakpul’s fifth touchdown pass of the night, a 75-yard strike to Nsoedo.
“It’s just a good combination of good pass protection from our line, Keyonte really understanding our passing scheme, and some guys who will go get the football,” Rabe said of the Rams passing game.
Yet the Cougars were undaunted. They retaliated with a four-play, 61-yard drive, all of which were running plays. Stanley’s third touchdown of the game came on an 18-yard run with 58 seconds left. The extra point gave a 41-38 lead.
Stanley scored his fourth touchdown, a two-yard plunge, with 7:21 left in the game, and with the extra point the Cougars had a 10-point lead.
The Rams weren’t finished. They with another touchdown drive of their own, finishing with a five-yard run by Strong with 3:52 remaining in the game.
Mayde Creek made and recovered an onside kick, but couldn’t move the ball and turned it over on downs. Nimitz couldn’t move the ball, either, and decided to punt. The bad snap on the play led to a turnover on downs, setting up the Rams for the game-winning drive.