Lafayette football coach Rob Sayre had an up-close look at the game-winning play that gave his Generals a stunning 14-12 victory over host Bryan Station Friday night.
But Sayre could hardly believe his eyes.
"Amazing, truly amazing," he said. "Craziest thing I've ever seen."
Lafayette trailed 12-0 until Keenan Green returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown to make it 12-7 with six minutes left.
Then came the craziness.
Bryan Station was hoping to run out the clock in the closing minutes, but Lafayette forced a fumble.
Green scooped up the ball at the Defenders' 32-yard line and looked for running room around the left side. He got to about the 10 before he was wrapped up by Bryan Station. But as he was going down, he spotted teammate Gary Demus trailing the play.
"I saw my man open and nobody was on him, so I gave it to him," Green said.
Demus was ready.
"He tossed it to me, and all I saw was green grass ahead of me, so I took it in for a touchdown," Demus said of his score that came with 1:45 left.
It was only fitting that the game was decided on a fumble because the ball was on the artificial turf much of the night. Between them the teams fumbled 11 times, and each lost three.
Bryan Station was the beneficiary of most of the miscues through the first 31/2 quarters.
The Defenders took an early 2-0 lead when a high snap on a Lafayette punt attempt went out of the end zone.
A few minutes later the Generals fumbled a punt. Bryan Station's Kris Bolton picked it up and returned it to the Lafayette 8. On the next play Roy Philon scored and the Defenders led 9-0.
After a scoreless third quarter, Bryan Station's Jose Marin's 32-yard field goal made it 12-0 with 6:48 left in the game.
But Lafayette didn't think it was finished.
"We always talk about how, with a defense like ours, we're never out of a game as long as there's time on the clock,' Sayre said. "We proved that tonight. The kids never quit. They always believed."
Demus said they were just obeying their coach.
"He tells us we've got to face adversity, and when it comes we've got to make plays," he said after Lafayette beat the Defenders for the eighth year in a row.
It was a too-familiar outcome for Bryan Station, which also lost close games to Johnson Central and Woodford County in the last few weeks.
"We think we're there, but we're not," Coach Oliver Lucas said.
"Our defense played lights out, good enough for us to win. But offensively that's probably the worst game we've had this year."
Bryan Station limited Lafayette to 116 yards and forced five turnovers. Earl McCann and Kris Bolton were sensational for the Defenders with 11 tackles apiece. McCann also had his fourth interception of the year.
But Bryan Station's offense could manage only 178 yards. Patrick Cornett got most of that, rushing 22 times for 84 yards.
The Generals' defense was led by Eric Shaw and Aaron Petty, who combined for 23 tackles. Shaw also led Lafayette with 69 yards rushing, 25 receiving and 50 on punt returns.
Lucas credited the Generals for "hanging in there and hanging in there until we shot ourselves in the foot.
"When old lady momentum is on your side, then she leaves you, good things aren't going to happen."
Lafayette 0 0 0 14—14
Bryan Station 9 0 0 3—12
BS—Safety when ball snapped out of end zone. BS—Roy Philon 8 run (Jose Marin kick). BS—Marin 32 field goal. L—Keenan Green 77 kickoff return (Matt Green kick). L—Gary Demus 32-yard fumble return off lateral from Green (Matt Green kick).
Records—Lafayette 4-2; Bryan Station 2-3
First downs 7 5
Rushing yds 43 102
Passing yds 73 76
Passes 26-13-2 17-7-1
Punts-avg. 4-32.8 9-32.0
Penalties-yds 4-30 8-59