With only 49 seconds left in their game against Joshua, the Paschal Panthers held a two-point lead and were looking forward to the end of their 18-game losing streak stretching back to September 2010.
But the football gods were obviously not ready to end Paschal’s string of heartbreaking losses, and an offsides penalty on the ensuing kickoff gave Joshua good field position. The Owls scored a touchdown with 18 seconds left to defeat the Panthers 35-30.
A 23-yard touchdown run from senior running back Collin Radford gave Joshua the win.
“We deserved to win tonight,” Panther head coach Matt Cook said.
A 47-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Gibson Duwe to senior wide receiver Ben Noel with 49 seconds left on fourth-and-17 had given the Panthers a short-lived 30-28 lead.
“Gibson made an incredible throw,” Noel said.
Noel caught 6 passes for 115 yards and that score. Duwe completed 20 out of 33 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown.
“I’m upset for my kids because they played so good,” Cook said.
Joshua opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run from senior running back Devon Scoggins after the Panthers failed to convert a fourth and one on their first possession.
The Owls then scored a touchdown on their next possession to make the score 14-0. Senior running back Collin Radford finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Radford rushed 22 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns.
In the second quarter, the Panthers scored a touchdown to cut the Owls’ lead in half. Junior running back Justin Woodard scored from 18 yards out.
On the next Panther drive, sophomore kicker Christian Vazquez kicked a 20-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Joshua led at halftime 14-10.
The Panthers went 64 yards in 5 plays to set up that field goal. A 37-yard pass from junior quarterback Gibson Duwe to senior wide receiver Ben Noel highlighted the drive.
The Owls struck quickly to begin the second half. Joshua went 69 yards in two plays to score a touchdown to make the score 21-10.
The Panthers came right back with a quick touchdown. Woodard scored on a 65-yard run to make the score 21-17.
Paschal scored on its fourth straight possession to give the Panthers its first lead of the game. Woodard scored his third touchdown of the night give the Panthers a three-point lead.
Woodard rushed 14 times for 155 yards.
Joshua scored a touchdown to retake the lead 28-24 by the end of the third quarter, a lead that held up until Duwe hit Noel on the 47-yard touchdown pass to give Paschal its short-lived lead.
The Panthers’ next game is at Dallas Sunset on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.