It was an ending that defied description. Heck, it was an entire game that defied description
Down to the game’s final 10 seconds and University needing one last big play, the Titans found one in big-play receiver Austin Flynn.
Flynn caught a desperation pass from Jeff Beaty as time wound down and turned it into a 27-22 victory over visiting Kamiakin to qualify for the State 3A football tournament.
Flynn caught the ball with his back to the end zone, then wound his way through Braves defenders to score the winning touchdown with three ticks left on the clock.
“I looked at the clock, there were 10 seconds left and I told Coach we had to throw it up to win,” Flynn said. “My vision slowed things down and I saw where the corner and where the linebacker was underneath. I had to go get it.”
How inexplicable was the outcome? Dominant Kamiakin had two drives, mainly on the ground, consuming 8 minutes each.
One took up most of the second quarter and tied the game 13-13 on back Johnny Jansen’s 1-yard plunge. The other, lasting from the final 4½ minutes of the third quarter into the fourth, tipped the scales to a Titans team that, while thoroughly outplayed statistically, scored in a hurry.
The Braves had taken the lead earlier, 19-13, on a 57-yard pass from Kylle Robertson to receiver Brandon Larsen, who had run past U-Hi’s secondary.
Now they were at U-Hi’s 14-yard line against a sieve-like defense that couldn’t stop Kamiakin’s running attack.
U-Hi’s first big play came, however, when Robertson checked to a pass, Adrian Bonner tipped the ball and safety Andrew Morgan intercepted near the goal line.
“We were in man and I spotted my guy,” Morgan said. “After the ball was thrown, Adrian tipped it, I saw it, got it and started running.”
The Titans covered 80 yards in 4 minutes, but were facing fourth-and-10 at Kamiakin’s 10. Flynn, who until that time hadn’t caught a pass, made a difficult catch for miracle No. 2 and a 20-19 lead.
But it only took a couple minutes – with pass completions of 30 and 41 yards – for the visitors to be knocking at the door again. U-Hi’s defense stiffened inside the 10 forcing a field goal that put Kamiakin up 22-20 with 1:26 left in the game.
Somehow, someway the Titans beat the clock.
Beaty was 13 of 19 in the second half for 197 of his 279 passing yards.
Kamiakin had a 343 to 196 total yardage advantage, but things unraveled for the Braves at the end.
Relieved U-Hi coach Bob Bartlett said, “At least we didn’t keep the fans bored. In the end Austin said, ‘Give me the ball.’ That’s kind of what he’s been about.”