Whatever they charged for admission to the University-Post Falls football game Friday night, it wasn’t nearly enough.
The fourth quarter alone was a nonstop thrill ride with University threatening to run away and the young Trojans refusing to go away.
Post Falls rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the final 6 minutes only to watch the visiting Titans march 80 yards in 43 seconds for the winning touchdown in a 43-37 victory.
University (2-0) left just 15.3 seconds on the clock after scoring and that was down to 10.4 ticks when the Trojans muffed the kickoff and started at their 5-yard line.
In keeping with the theme of the frantic final quarter, Post Falls sophomore receiver Tommy Hauser hauled in a short pass and broke free. He dashed down the sideline in front of the Trojans’ bench before the Titans finally dragged him down near their 40-yard line.
The clock read triple zeroes. Officials huddled briefly before determining that the game was over.
“That was a hell of a game, I have to catch my breath,” Titans coach Adam Daniel said. “I couldn’t believe (Hauser) got loose. We were one shoestring away from him scoring. Good job, Post Falls. (Coach) Blaine Bennett does a great job with that program.”
University bounced back from an early 16-0 deficit with 30 unanswered points. That stretch of dominance was fueled by a no-frills, punishing ground game that produced 367 yards.
Chris Taylor ran for 132 yards behind U-Hi’s physical offensive front before cramping up in the second half. Isaac Matt entered and raced for 130 yards, including a pair of big plays on U-Hi’s decisive final drive.
“That was the game plan coming out of half. Let’s play power football and get back to what we’re good at,” Daniel said. “The kids responded.”
University looked to be comfortably ahead at 37-23 after Matt’s 8-yard touchdown run, but the Trojans (1-2) had other ideas. They converted a pair of fourth downs and picked up another 30 yards on U-Hi penalties before sophomore Alex Horning’s 16-yard touchdown catch with 5:36 left.
The Trojans’ defense held and a high snap soared over U-Hi’s punter. Post Falls took over at the 9-yard line and scored on Eli Gondo’s 1-yard plunge. The Trojans took a timeout to consider going for the 2-point conversion but opted for Grant Jones’ PAT with 1:01 remaining.
“I’m really proud of the way the defense played in the first half and the way the kids played in the fourth quarter,” Bennett said. “Down a couple touchdowns, for us to fight back and make it an exciting game, I’m really proud of the way they fought.”
Matt broke a 28-yard run and quarterback Gavin Wolcott connected with Avery Scott for 32 yards. Matt’s 19-yard burst up the middle set up Wolcott’s 1-yard quarterback sneak for the go-ahead touchdown.
“They can (run it), they’re big and physical,” Bennett said. “We did a good job (defensively) in that first quarter, but we really didn’t take advantage of it and get some points. They went down and scored when they had to.”
Hauser, who finished with 10 catches for 180 yards, kept the outcome in doubt down to the last play. Junior quarterback Derek Pearse passed for 245 yards and Gondo added 85 rushing yards.
“That’s about as exciting of a football game as you can play,” Daniel said. “Too exciting.”