For the second consecutive year, Lakeside found a way to inch past Houston County by the difference of a few feet.
In a mirror image of last year’s matchup, a potential game-winning field goal for Houston County came up short, and Lakeside came away with a 21-20 comeback win on Friday night.
Houston County’s field goal attempt by Will Cowart last year came up two feet short of victory, giving the Panthers a 37-35 win.
The Bears again tried a long field goal in the final seconds on Friday, and Jordan Strevig’s attempt fell short by a few feet.
“It was almost like a repeat,” Lakeside coach Jarrett Troxler said. “This was a special win.”
Lakeside was down by 13 early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers maintained their composure and began a methodical comeback in the closing minutes.
Stephen Houzah busted a 63-yard touchdown run with 7 minutes remaining, cutting the Houston County lead to 6.
After a short Bears punt gave the Panthers the ball within the Bears territory, Lakeside inched toward the end zone while running down the clock.
Panthers running back Jalen Harrison turned a corner and found daylight with 2:38 to go, scoring the 15-yard, go-ahead touchdown for a one-point lead.
“Jalen got the call and made a play,” Troxler said. “He hit the corner and bounced to the outside. It was a great play for him.”
With more than 2 minutes remaining, Houston County slowly drove down the field before stalling with 40 seconds left. On fourth down and 7 yards to go, Bears coach Von Lassiter chose to go with the leg of Strevig, who had already made two field goals in the game.
From 40 yards out, Strevig’s attempt lost momentum, dropping in the end zone and, with it, Houston County’s chances.
Houzah led Lakeside with five carries for 84 yards and one touchdown. Harrison added 53 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Houston County quarterback Taylor Boyett went 14 for 20 for 159 yards. Samsun West led the Bears with 71 yards on the ground.