Mehlville fans had approximately 90 seconds of extreme joy when it looked like they were going to pull off a win against Lindbergh Friday night and make it into the state playoffs.
Down 14-7, junior Patrick Partee made one of the best plays of the season when he picked off Flyers' QB Peter Simpson's pass and returned it to the Lindbergh 1-yard line with about two minutes left in the game.
Brendan Moore then scored on a quarterback sneak and Partee added a two-point conversion run that gave the Panthers a 15-14 lead with just 1:38 left on the clock.
The Flyers trailed 15-14 with about 90 seconds to play on Friday, but hit a 70-yard double pass from senior Jordan Goodman to senior Grant Krueger, then held Mehlville on fourth down from the 1-yard line in the final seconds to preserve a truly heart-stopping 20-15 win over the visiting Panthers.
“I don't know what happened at the end,” Mehlville head coach Eric Meyer said. “It was all kind of a blur. All I know is we didn't get it in there. It was pretty frustrating. You can’t make mistakes like that against a good team like Lindbergh.”
After Lindbergh scored, Mehlville marched the ball down to Lindbergh’s 1-yard line thanks to some nifty passing by backup quarterback Brendan Moore, who came into the game late in the first quarter after senior starter Jeff White was knocked out of the game with a head injury.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, with 15 seconds left in the game and facing fourth-and-goal from the Lindbergh 1, Mehlville fumbled the center-quarterback snap exchange and lost control of the ball.
The officials never really signaled who had recovered the ball, but it didn’t matter; it was a fourth-and-goal play, which meant without a touchdown, it was Lindbergh’s ball no matter what.
The loss was a truly bitter pill to swallow for the Panthers, who thought they had fashioned a late-game miracle when they took the lead just before Goodman’s heave to Krueger.
But those 98 seconds proved to be just enough for Lindbergh to pull off a double-miracle win that kept its playoff hopes alive.
“Incredible win,” Lindbergh head coach Tom Beauchamp said after the game. “I’m just so proud of these kids. We've been practicing that play all year but we haven't shown it. It was one of those situations where we executed perfectly.”
Goodman, normally a wide receiver for the Flyers, was the key player on Lindbergh’s miracle touchdown.
First, the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder caught a backwards lateral from quarterback Peter Simpson, and waited for someone to get open. He then fired a perfect strike to a streaking Krueger, who outran the entire Mehlville defense to the end zone for the score.
“Jordan did a great job catching the ball, resetting himself, and they blocked real well for him,” Beauchamp said. “And with (Grant) flying down the field, he's really fast, he's hard to stop. Jordan threw a perfect strike, and it was over.”
The Flyers are now 6-3 on the season and 1-1 in district play with one regular-season game left next week at Saint Louis University High in St. Louis.
Last week, Lindbergh lost to De Smet 30-13, which means the Flyers will need a win against the Jr. Billikens this Friday and a De Smet loss by a combined margin of 20 points or more to make the state football playoffs which begin in November.
Mehlville, which is now 4-5 on the season and 0-2 in district play, has been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Panthers will finish out their 2011 season Friday night when they’ll host De Smet at home at 7 p.m.
Score by Quarters