BLUE HILL — The only option turned out to be the right option.
Out of timeouts in a tied game, Blue Hill elected to try a 25-yard field goal late in Tuesday’s Eight Man-2 quarterfinal against Twin Loup.
Joe Mackin converted with 7.4 seconds left to give the No. 3 Bobcats a 37-34 victory over the No. 2 Wolves.
Last year in the quarterfinals, it was Twin Loup that defeated Blue Hill with the winning points coming on a field goal with five minutes left.
“We were out of timeouts and got out of bounds, and with seven-whatever seconds left, we decided to kick the field goal and have a chance to win at home,” Blue Hill coach Jon Coffey said. “He did a great job of kicking it.”
Blue Hill (11-0) drove 47 yards after taking over on its own 26-yard line with 3:11 remaining, twice converting on third-down passes.
But a pair of throws into the end zone on second- and third-and-1 from the 7 fell incomplete, setting up Mackin’s game-winner.
Twin Loup (10-1) had stormed back from a 27-13 halftime deficit to tie the game on a 7-yard Alex Horky touchdown and two-point conversion with 9:18 left in the game.
But a false start penalty led to a three-and-out on the Wolves’ only other full possession in the fourth.
“We had a penalty that put us behind on our last possession, and that put us behind the downs,” Twin Loup coach Mike Kozeal said. “That hurt us.”
The Wolves got one final attempt after Blue Hill’s field goal, but Ethan Sharp picked off Rowdy Oxford’s pass.
Blue Hill’s success on third down on its final possession extended one of the big trends in the game. The Bobcats converted 11 of 15 third-down tries, including scoring three touchdowns.
John Rouse finished 10 for 15 for 168 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 126 yards.
“We got a lot of big pass plays — third-and-5, third-and-6 where they loaded the box,” Coffey said. “Johnny, our quarterback, did a nice job throwing to the wide-open guy. I guess we have two dimensions to the game right now.”
Maccoy Menke (6-foot-2) and Trent Karr (6-3) were often able to leap above defenders and make catches while falling backwards. They combined for nine grabs and 169 yards.
Horky, who finished with 238 yards on 32 carries, capped the opening drive in the third with a 7-yard run, and Oxford added a 1-yard run to pull the Wolves within 27-26 with 2:58 left in the period after the PAT failed.
But it was Blue Hill that found a way to score last and move on to another battle of unbeatens against Mullen in Monday’s semifinals.
Twin Loup (10-1)..............7 6 13 8—34
At Blue Hill (11-0).............7 20 7 3—37
TL: Colby Coons 1 run (Hunter Kraus kick), 8:36.
BH: Lane Deisley 8 run (Joe Mackin kick), 6:56.
BH: Trent Karr 14 pass from John Rouse (Mackin kick), 11:54.
BH: Safety, 10:02.
BH: Rouse 11 run (kick failed), 7:31.
TL: Alex Horky 47 run (kick failed), 6:45.
BH: Rouse 33 run (pass failed), 4:57.
TL: Horky 9 run (Kraus kick), 9:18.
TL: Rowdy Oxford 1 run (run failed), 2:58.
BH: Maccoy Menke 39 pass from Rouse (Mackin kick), 2:04.
TL: Horky 7 run (Horky run), 10:32.
BH: Mackin 25 field goal, 0:08.
Rushing: TL, Horky 32-238, Oxford 9-32, Col. Coons 3-8. BH, Rouse 20-126, Deisley 22-94, Kort 2-7, Team 1-(minus 2).
Passing: TL, Oxford 5-10-2 55. BH, Rouse 10-15-0 168.
Receiving: TL, Col. Coons 2-41, Horky 2-20, Coo. Coons 1-(minus 6). BH, Menke 5-92, Karr 4-77, Mackin 1-(minus 1).