A goal-line stand in the final seconds of the fourth quarter leads to an overtime victory.
Another overtime victory comes after a comeback from a two-touchdown deficit.
And, of course, a hitch-and-pitch pass play produces a touchdown on the last play of the game.
Yes, several nail-biting finishes decided conference championships during the 2013 high school football season.
Big 8 Conference
After leading most of the game, Carl Junction needed a touchdown on the final play to pull out a 50-46 victory over Lamar on Oct. 4 in Lamar.
The Tigers trailed 20-0 after one quarter and 37-24 after three quarters before touchdown runs by Levi Petersen and Ethan Taffner gave Lamar its first lead 38-37 midway through the fourth quarter.
Dustin Satterlee’s 15-yard run completed an 80-yard drive that put Carl Junction back on top 43-38, but the Tigers answered with a 61-yard drive capped by Petersen’s 10-yard pass to Brett McDonald with 54 seconds left. Jared Beshore then hit Taffner with the 2-point conversion pass for a 46-43 lead.
With 10.4 seconds left Carl Junction faced third down-and-4 from the Lamar 48. Satterlee completed a pass to Tanner McMurtrey at the 35, and McMurtrey pitched the ball back to Keynan Scheurich who ran the final 35 yards for a touchdown as time expired.
Satterlee passed for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Magee had 120 receiving yards, including a 65-yard TD catch.
Lamar had three 100-yard rushers – Petersen (181), Taffner (146) and Danny Embry (116).
The Bulldogs went on to win the seventh Big 8 Conference title in school history and the first unbeaten league record since 1989.
Lamar did not lose another game en route to finishing second in the league and winning its third straight Class 2 state championship.
COC Large Division
Webb City’s goal-line stand sent the game into overtime, and Tyson Roderique’s 25-yard pass to Kiante Hardin on the Cardinals’ first play in overtime gave them a 27-24 victory over Nixa on Sept. 27 in Nixa.
But before overtime, Webb City’s long conference-game winning streak was in jeopardy. The Cardinals and Eagles were tied 21-21 when Nixa had a first down just inside the Webb City 10 late in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles were inside the 1 on fourth down and chose to go for the touchdown rather than kick a potential game-winning field goal. However, quarterback Jacob Karlson was stopped short of the goal line.
Nixa had first possession in overtime and took the lead on Logan Tyler’s 35-yard field goal. Roderique then hit Hardin on a fade pattern for the game-winning score.
The Cardinals went on to win the Central Ozark Conferenc Large Division championship and their fourth straight Class 4 state crown. Webb City has won or shared league titles —Southwest Conference or COC Large — for the last 17 years.
Spring River Valley Conference
Down 14-0 at the half, Jasper scored 22 unanswered points for a 22-14 overtime victory over Sarcoxie on Sept. 27 in Jasper.
That set the stage for the Eagles’ first unbeaten league championship since they won the Spring Valley Conference title in 1967, their second straight 10-0 season. The Eagles ended the year on a 26-game winning streak.
Payton Smith scored on a 25-yard run on the first play in overtime and added the 2-point conversion run. Smith finished with 137 yards on the ground, 119 after halftime.
Sarcoxie faced fourth down-and-2 from the 6 on its overtime possession but came up short of the first down — the Eagles’ third fourth-down stop in the second half.
Touchdown runs by Gavin Curry and Conor Jones gave the Bears their halftime advantage, but Jasper tied it on TDs by Logan Johnston and Smith.
Jade Bloss and Carlos Lopez ran for 121 and 102 yards, respectively, for Sarcoxie.
Backup quarterback Trey Robinson scored on a one-yard run with 1:03 left to lift Columbus past Galena 33-26 in a CNC showdown on Oct. 4 in Galena. The Titans went on to win the conference crown in their second year of league membership.
Titans starting QB Nate Bole left the game after being injured with four minutes left in the first quarter. Robinson completed 13 of 16 passes for 197 yards and two TDs in addition to his game-winning score in his first extended varsity action on offense.
Galena rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half. After the Bulldogs scored on a safety, short touchdown runs by Kyler Cook and Gabe Helton gave Galena a 26-24 lead with 3:40 left. Helton’s score capped a 98-yard, 13-play drive that consumed almost seven minutes.
Columbus’ A.J. Randle returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the Galena 46. Zane Roark’s 13-yard run on fourth down gave the Titans a first down at the 25, and Taylor Watkins broke a 24-yard run to set up Robinson’s score.
For Galena, Cook hit 7-of-12 passes for 132 yards, and Helton ran for 129 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown.
Southeast Kansas League
Alex Barnes fumbled on his first carry, but he recovered nicely by running for 305 yards and four touchdowns as Pittsburg rolled past Coffeyville 42-14 in a matchup of undefeated teams on Oct. 11 in Pittsburg.
Barnes, a junior, had 31 carries and scored on runs of 6, 13, 47 and 7 yards, giving him 1,088 yards and 20 TDs for the season.
Quarterback Riley Cunningham scored Pittsburg’s first two touchdowns on runs of 4 and 3 yards.
The Purple Dragons’ defense also made a strong showing in the homecoming game. The Dragons allowed 14 points and 226 yards to a Coffeyville offense that had averaged 50.8 points and 485 yards through five games.
Coffeyville scored on Nathan Finley’s 55-yard pass to Destin Downing in the first quarter and LaDarrius Johnson’s 6-yard run in the third period.
After the game, the season went opposite directions for both teams.
Pittsburg lost all three games in its Class 5A district.
The Golden Tornado, however, began another winning streak that continued until a 31-14 loss to Buhler in the Class 4A state title game.
Oklahoma 2A-District 8
Quarterback Angel Landeros scored on a fourth-down, one-yard plunge with 5:11 left to snap a 28-28 tie as Commerce trimmed Colcord 35-28 on Nov. 1 in Colcord.
Landeros became the Tigers’ quarterback the previous week when starter Blake Jameson suffered a broken leg in a 30-15 win against Salina.
Running back D.C. Chance gained 190 yards on 27 carries for Commerce.
• Kickapoo went 9-0 to win the Ozark Conference title for the first time in 13 years. The Chiefs beat second-place Camdenton 21-19 on Sept. 20.
• Antonio Slingluff rushed for 273 yards and six touchdowns as Northeast beat Oswego 48-42 in the final game of the season to decide the Three Rivers League 11-man championship.
• Chetopa won the Three Rivers 8-man division with a 5-0 record. The key victory was a 72-54 home decision over Uniontown on Sept. 27.
• The Oklahoma Class A-District 8 crown also was decided in the final week when Afton knocked off unbeaten Summit Christian 21-17.
Sports writers Anvil Welch, Mark Schremmer, Ryan Atkinson and Richard Polen and correspondents Craig Hull and Matt Newbery contributed to this report.