FLORENCE — Boone County quarterback Mike Walsh hit Daniel Lokesak with an 8-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Rebels a 9-7 victory over Henry Clay in the Class 6A playoffs Friday night.
It was a stunning conclusion to a frigid night of football.
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Nobody scored until Boone County's Brad Chalfant booted a 30-yard field goal with 63 seconds left.
Henry Clay answered right back as Tyler Hooker returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a go-ahead touchdown with 49 seconds left.
But Boone County wasn't finished.
"Our kids didn't get down and never gave up," Rebels Coach Rick Thompson said.
Walsh directed the Rebels on a 61-yard, eight-play game-winning drive, completing four passes along the way.
The biggest, of course, was the TD toss to Lokesak.
"I went right at the pylon, Mike made a perfect pass, I put my hands up and it was right there," Lokesak said.
With the game on the line, Walsh said he felt "a little bit of pressure, but not a whole lot. I knew we could do it."
Thompson said Walsh had been struggling since he stepped in at quarterback after starter Nate Alford was injured a few weeks ago.
"We kept telling Mikey he could do it, and he found a way to get it done tonight," Thompson said.
"This was the kind of game where it was a shame somebody had to lose."
Boone County, rated 15th in the state, advances to face Simon Kenton in the third round next week.
Henry Clay, rated 11th, had a six-game winning streak snapped and ended the season 6-5.
When the Devils beat Boone County 14-7 here three weeks ago, it was a balmy 62 degrees. It was 40 degrees colder for the rematch at Owen Hauck Stadium, and it looked as if both offenses had trouble thawing out.
Both teams' defenses came up big in the first half.
After Henry Clay quarterback Cole Mielcarek connected with Jason Rider on a 46-yard pass, the Devils had first down at the Boone County 13.
But the visitors went backward from there and wound up surrendering the ball on downs at the 20.
Henry Clay's defense had a magnificent goal-line stand early in the second quarter.
Rebels' backup tailback Jason Oppenheimer carried eight consecutive times to move the ball from his 46 to the Henry Clay 3.
But the Devils' defense stuffed Oppenheimer on the next four plays, keeping the Rebels off the scoreboard.
Henry Clay failed to convert on a fake punt on fourth down at its own 14 midway through the fourth quarter. But its defense came to the rescue again, forcing Boone County to try — and miss — a 25-yard field goal.
Jon Baker, Grant Klinksiek and Aaron Akidil led the Henry Clay defense.
Cory Spalding, Jake Deason and Brian Robertson were standouts on defense for Boone County, which held Henry Clay to 1 net yard rushing.
Class 6A second round
Henry Clay 0 0 0 7—7
Boone Co. 0 0 0 0—9
BC—Brad Chalfant 30 field goal; HC—Tyler Hooker 82 kickoff return (Bruce Price kick); BC—Daniel Lokesak 8 pass from Mike Walsh.
Records: Boone Co. 9-3, Henry Clay 6-5.
First downs 8 11
Rushing yards 1 105
Passing yards 175 87
Passes 34-19-1 17-8-1
Punts-avg. 5-27.6 5-40,2
Penalties-yards 8-66 8-73
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0