The 53rd meeting of the Miami Trace Panthers and Washington Blue Lions was held at Miami Trace High School Friday night.
The rains, which seem almost inevitable when these two teams meet, for the most part stayed away as the teams did battle.
In the end, Miami Trace won the game, 28-26.
The game came down to the final play, as the Blue Lions had a chance to win the game, attempting a 25-yard field goal.
Miami Trace got through the line and blocked the kick, setting off a celebration that was one of laughter and tears for the Panthers.
The Blue Lions kicked off to Miami Trace, but on the first series, the Panthers fumbled, recovered by Washington.
The first score of the game was a pass from Tanner Lemaster to quarterback Troy Thompson (after a couple of other handoffs. The score came with 5:01 to play in the first quarter.
The extra-point kick was blocked.
Later in the quarter, Washington had to punt. The punt was mishandled, giving the Panthers the ball at the Blue Lion 12-yard line.
Melvin passed to Garrett Guess for the tying touchdown of 10 yards.
Zach Warnock’s kick gave the Panthers a 7-6 lead with 1:55 to play in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Melvin passed to Jayden LeBeau for a touchdown of 84 yards. Warnock’s kick gave the Panthers a 14-6 lead at the 10:05 mark of the second quarter.
On Washington’s next possession, Miami Trace’s Austin Boedeker intercepted a pass that set up another score for the Panthers.
Jayden LeBeau scored again to give the Panthers a 20-6 lead. Warnock’s kick gave the Panthers a 21-6 lead with 5:26 to play in the half.
With 1:29 to play in the half, Washington scored when Lemaster recovered a Blue Lion fumble in the end zone. Washington went for a two-point conversion, which was no good.
The two teams exited the field and headed to the locker rooms with the Panthers in front, 21-12.
The Blue Lions scored first in the second half.
Rocky Jones scored on a 1-yard run with 7:07 to play in the third quarter.
Foose’s kick was good, making it a 21-19 game.
After a couple of turnovers, (one from both teams), Jayden LeBeau scored on a 9-yard run. Warnock’s kick gave the Panthers a 28-19 lead with 1:48 to play in the third quarter.
Washington responded early in the fourth quarter with a 31-yard pass from Thompson to Calum Brown. Foose’s kick was good, pulling the Blue Lions to within two points, 28-26.
Miami Trace had the ball late in the game, hoping to run out the clock.
The Miami Trace ball-carrier was hit hard and fumbled, giving the ball back to Washington at the Miami Trace 43-yard line with 44 seconds to play.
Thompson hit Brown for a gain down to the 21-yard line.
Nydrell Wright ran the ball down to the Panther 10-yard line.
With just four seconds remaining, Washington attempted a 25-yard field goal, which was blocked.
“I have to give it up to our guys,” Miami Trace head coach Jerry Williams said, moments after a final word on the field with his team. “All I asked for was 48 minutes and they gave us 48 minutes, right down to the last second.
“It should have never come to that, but it did,” Williams said. “We made a play at the end. We made a play to close that out.
“This was one we deserved,” Williams said. “We were due.”
Williams was not overly interested in talking about the playoffs after the dramatic win, but the Panthers are in for Week 11. The Ohio High School Athletic Association will have the official computer rankings some time Sunday.
“I’m just glad we got this one tonight,” Williams said. “We’ll enjoy this one tonight and then we’ll get ready for whomever we play next week.”
“My heart just goes out to our seniors,” Washington head coach Chuck Williamson said. “They played with heart. They gave it everything they had. We had a chance there at the end, but we just didn’t get it done.
“Hats off to our coaching staff,” Williamson said. “They came in and made adjustments. We went three and out the first time (in the second half), then we went down and scored. Then we scored again. We told our kids it could come down to one play. It did, but we just didn’t execute.”
“Defensively, we played lights out,” Williamson said. “We got the turnover there that gave us a chance to win it.”
The win by the Panthers ends Washington’s winning streak against their rivals at five.
Saturday morning, early, the Panthers will be treated to breakfast at McDonald’s and receive the McDonald’s Traveling Trophy for the first time since 2016.
Miami Trace improves to 7-3 overall, 4-1 in the FAC.
The Blue Lions are 4-5 overall, 2-3 in the FAC.
In other FAC games Friday, Jackson completed an undefeated conference run with a 49-0 win over Chillicothe.
Hillsboro beat McClain, 31-7.