GEORGETOWN — When push came to shove Friday night, Scott County manufactured The Drive.
Tevin Buffin's 10-yard touchdown pass to James Happy with 3:59 left completed the Cardinals' 16-13 come-from-behind victory over Henry Clay in a Class 6A regional final, the third round of the state playoffs, at Toyota Stadium.
Scott County (10-3) will visit Trinity in next weekend's state semifinals.
"Playoffs are about three things," Cardinals Coach Jim McKee said. "Turnovers, special teams and making plays."
Never miss a local story.
Happy's big play culminated a 19-play, 84-yard drive that took nearly 10 minutes (9:57). The pass came on fourth-and-seven — the third fourth-down conversion of the drive (including one by an off-side penalty).
"That's all I needed, was just one time to make a play," Happy said. "That's all I need."
He finished with four catches for 44 yards. Buffin completed eight of 12 passes for 112 yards. And Marcus Hill ran 17 times for 67 yards.
Chris Ramsey led the defense with 5.5 tackles.
Henry Clay (10-3) beat Scott County 21-7 on Sept. 11, but the Cardinals won the game that mattered most.
The Cardinals also knocked off Henry Clay in the playoffs five years ago, 45-42, and advanced to the state championship game before losing to St. Xavier.
"A tough way to lose a ball game," said Sam Simpson, coach of the Blue Devils. "I don't think the real Henry Clay was here the whole game tonight. But you've got an offense that hides the ball in their back pocket, you can't get it, that hurts you. So congratulations to them and good luck to them."
Henry Clay had one chance to answer. The Devils moved from their 27 to the Scott 32 before and a pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-seven with 42 seconds left.
Hill, carrying the ball for the first time since suffering an ankle injury last month, carried 10 times for 41 yards on the winning drive and caught a pass for another six yards.
His presence was a boost as the Cardinals lost fullback Brooks Barber to injury on the second play of the game, and backup Steven Travis late in the third quarter.
"Marcus told me in a time-out 'Keep giving it to me; I really feel it,'" Coach Jim McKee said.
Henry Clay scored on its first two possessions and led 13-9 at halftime.
Scott was first on the board when Buffin scored from 23 yards out on an option keeper around right end. But Jay Willmott's PAT kick was wide.
Henry Clay countered by converting a fourth-and-12 with a 38-yard touchdown strike from Jerry Williams to Branden Johnson. A.J. Yewell's PAT kick hit the left upright, leaving the game tied.
Williams finished 10-for-14, good for 120 yards.
After a Cardinals punt, Henry Clay needed one play to score — an 87-yard run by Bo Brooks. Yewell's kick made it 13-6 with 5:52 left in the first quarter.
Brooks wound up with 117 yards on nine carries.
Willmott nailed a 23-yard field goal with 5:31 left in the half. The Devils thought they had stopped that drive by recovering a fumble near their 15. Simpson said he was "really kind of baffled" that the play was ruled dead.
"We actually took the ball away from them," he said. "There wasn't any whistle blown or anything like that. I never got an explanation for that one.
"But it was a hard-fought game, both sides, and we had some opportunities. ... I'm proud of my kids. They've had a really good year."
Henry Clay 13 0 0 0—13
Scott County 6 3 0 7—16
SC — Tevin Buffin 23 run (kick failed); HC — Branden Johnson 38 pass from Jerry Williams (kick failed); HC — Bo Brooks 87 run (A.J. Yewell kick); SC — Jay Willmott 23 field goal; SC — James Happy 10 pass from Buffin (Willmott kick).