WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Will Cowart’s 51-yard field goal try fell 2 feet short as time expired, and Lakeside escaped Houston County, 37-35, on Friday at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.
After Lakeside place-kicker Colby Ellis put the Panthers on top with 43.6 seconds left in the game, Houston County quarterback Taylor Boyett moved the Bears to the Lakeside 34-yard line. With 4.6 seconds left, Houston County coach Greg Robinson called timeout before sending Boyett back to the field with the rest of the offense. After a second timeout, Robinson called on Cowart.
“He had kicked a 41-yarder, and we had a little wind,” Robinson said of his decision. “I’d kick it again.”
Cowart’s kick angled for the middle of the goal posts but fell shy of the crossbar, and Lakeside’s players spilled off the bench in celebration. Cowart, a senior, left the field in tears as the Bears fell to 2-4 on the season. They are winless in three Region 2-AAAAA games.
“The kids need something good to happen to them, but nobody is going to give you anything on the football field, the same as in life,” Robinson said.
The lead changed hands seven times, including four times in the fourth quarter.
Lakeside quarterback Tanner Brassell completed 14 of 19 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns. He connected on scoring strikes of 12, 70, 36 and 66 yards. He also hit Josh Jones for a 62-yard completion that set up Ellis’ winning kick.
“Our coaches tell me to stay calm in the pocket,” said Brassell, a senior. “I knew (the linemen) were coming, so I just got rid of the ball.”
Boyett and Myles White combined to help the Bears answer when Lakeside put points on the board. Boyett’s running earned Houston County several key fourth-down conversions. He ran for two scores.
White returned a punt 75 yards for one touchdown. He also set up Cowart for a 41-yard field goal with another return. In addition, White caught 11 balls for 143 yards and a touchdown.
“I was proud of the way we answered,” Robinson said. “And Lakeside did the same thing.”
The Panthers (3-3, 2-1) opened their second possession at their own 9. On first down, running back Jonathan Edwards got the corner on a sweep to the right and ran 91 yards for the game’s first score. Edwards later caught one of Brassell’s long touchdown passes.
In six games, Houston County has allowed 15 touchdowns of at least 30 yards.
Sophomore Zach Taisler started at quarterback for Houston County. Playing with a cast on his left forearm, Taisler fumbled twice. Boyett, injured against Northside on Oct. 5, replaced Taisler in the second quarter.