ZACHARY — It came down to three seconds, and a kick that Hahnville kicker Tate White had to make twice.
He only made it once.
Trailing Zachary by two points with 3 seconds left Friday night in the Class 5A playoffs, White lined up for a 34-yard attempt on the left hash. He had made kicks from 31 and 34 on the left hash earlier in the game.
He was forced to reset twice, after Zachary burned two timeouts in an attempt to throw off White's focus. The kick proved to be White’s strongest of the game, sailing through the uprights with plenty of distance left to spare. The clock showed zeroes. A dogpile at midfield ensued.
No one saw the flag at the line of scrimmage. It was a holding call against No. 12-seeded Hahnville, one that pushed the ball back 10 yards.
White’s next kick fell in the end zone. No. 5-seeded Zachary lived to see another day, pulling out a 21-19 win in the second round of the 5A playoffs.
For Tigers coach Nick Saltaformaggio, the disappointment from the near-win hit hard.
“I just thought it was a great high school football game,” Saltaformaggio said. “Two teams that were really, really good. We just came up a play short; that’s what it came down to. Hats off to Zachary. You've got to really work to knock off the (reigning) champion, and I thought we really did. It just didn’t happen tonight. Good things are in store for us.”
Zachary (9-2), meanwhile, will face No. 20 Ruston (7-5), which upset No. 4 East Ascension on Friday night.
Hahnville quarterback Drew Naquin finished 8 of 14 passing for 165 yards a touchdown. Broncos quarterback Keilon Brown finished 11 of 18 passing for 199 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Receiver Chris Hilton led the Broncos with five receptions for 85 yards.
The Tigers’ first scoring drive ate up more than six minutes of clock to begin the second quarter, which ended in a 34-yard field goal by White. After a short drive ended with a punt, the Broncos defense found itself back on the job, attempting to defend a short field.
That’s when Hahnville running back Darryle Evans made his appearance.
After finding little to no success on his first dozen carries, Evans busted a 20-yard run around the left tackle for Hahnville’s first lead of the game. He finished the night with 29 carries for 126 yards, a touchdown and a fumble. He also added two receptions for 116 yards, including a 95-yard catch for another score.
After the Broncos answered quickly with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Jayden Williams, Evans sparked the Tigers offense again with a 25-yard run, ultimately setting up a last-second field goal from White before the end of the half.
Zachary coach David Brewerton was impressed with his offense’s ability to dial up the big play under pressure.
“Our guys have played in so many close situations over the years — big, big-time football games — that they feel comfortable in those,” Brewerton said. “I thought that we, all the way down to the end right there, still never panicked, and our guys did what they had to do to win. We’re 12-0 on this field in the playoffs in the last six years. Our kids believe in that, and that’s what gave us the win tonight.”