A 10-yard touchdown run by Dade Dieterich left the fans at Robert J. Segura Stadium in stunned silence.
The scoring run gave North Vermilion a 27-24 win in overtime over homestanding Erath in a battle between teams on the playoff bubble in the Class 3A playoffs.
“I’ve been here 18 years, and I kept telling people this was going to come down to the wire,” North Vermilion coach Richard Prejean said. “We knew coming in it was going to be emotional, and it was going to be a physical game. We just tried to prepare ourself for it.”
North Vermilion received the ball first to start the game, but an early interception by Ty Desormeaux set up Erath with decent field position.
The Bobcats capitalized on the interception with an 18-yard touchdown run by Elijah Mitchell to put Erath up 7-0.
In the waning moments of the first quarter, North Vermilion responded with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Desormeaux to Seth Patin. A 33-yard pass from Desormeaux to Dieterich set up the score.
The Patriots took the lead on another pass from Desormeaux to Patin, this one covering 39 yards, to give North Vermilion a 14-7 lead with five minutes left in the half.
On Erath’s ensuing drive, Mitchell accounted for 52 yards rushing and capped it with a 13-yard touchdown scamper to tie the score at 14 heading into halftime.
Erath turned it over on downs at the North Vermilion 30 with three minutes left in the game. It came back to haunt the Bobcats two plays later. Desormeaux found Connor Dupuy on a crossing route in the middle of the field, and Dupuy outran the Bobcats defenders for the 70-yard touchdown to put the Patriots ahead with 2:44 left.
Erath’s quarterback completed four straight passes on the final drive and tied the game with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Luke Young with 21.6 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
The Bobcats got the ball first, and after an untimely penalty, they were forced to settle for a field goal and a three-point lead.
Fans didn’t have to wait long for the game-winning play. On the first snap of the next drive, Dieterich, a wide receiver, lined up in the shotgun at quarterback. He used a read-option keeper to win the game and possibly propel his team into the playoffs.
“All the credit to North Vermilion,” Erath coach David Comeaux said. “We did some things that we wanted to do, but they shut down most of it. Hats off to them.”
The fate of the two teams is now in the hands of the LHSAA playoff selection committee. Before the game, Erath was ranked No. 29 and North Vermilion was No. 34 in the unofficial power rankings. Thirty-two teams are selected to make the playoffs in Class 3A.
The playoff brackets will be released Sunday.