And all three plays went in favor of the visiting Blue Devils, playing big roles in their 17-7 decision over the previous undefeated Longhorns at Cobb Energy/Corky Kell Stadium.
Statesboro (11-2) advanced into next week's semifinal against another unbeaten opponent, Chattahoochee.
The first of the pivotal plays came on the fourth play of the fourth quarter with Kell (12-1) trailing by three. The Longhorns were threatening to recapture the lead when they were sitting on the Statesboro 8-yard line.
It would be fourth-and-inches, and Kell was faced with a decision to keep the drive alive or tie the game with a 25-yard field goal.
All the Longhorns needed were inches for the first down, but Statesboro stopped Austin Petrik on the quarterback sneak.
The second play was only a 3-yard pickup by Statesboro's Trai Gadson, but two-way Kell star Brian Randolph, playing at safety, injured his leg on the tackle and had to leave the game.
Without Randolph in the defensive backfield on second-and-7, Dequan Daniels found an opening up the middle and sprinted 91 yards to the end zone for the clinching score.
"They can second-guess me on kicking the field goal, but I have confidence in my kids," Kell coach Derek Cook said on the decision to go for it on fourth-and-inches. "They wanted to go for it, and that's what I did."
Kell still had more 9 minutes remaining to make a comeback, but hopes took a turn for the worse when Petrik threw an interception on the second play of the subsequent drive to put Statesboro on the Longhorns' 30.
Kell stopped the Blue Devils and got the ball back on their own 11 with 6:08 remaining. Petrik, who finished with 163 passing yards and a touchdown, completed several lengthy passes to help the Longhorns get to the Statesboro 7, but the drive fizzled with 3:03 remaining and Kell turned the ball over on downs on an incomplete screen pass.
With only one timeout remaining for Kell, the Blue Devils managed to chew the remainder of the clock.
Of the three plays that failed to go Kell's way, failing to convert on fourth-and-inches may have been the stinger.
"We tried going for it on fourth down and didn't get it," Petrik said. "Then the game just unraveled on us."
Statesboro scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the third quarter after Kell led 7-3 at the half. Daniels, who led the Blue Devils with 227 yards on 23 carries, scored from 37 yards out.
For most of the first half, it was the Longhorns who appeared to be in control. While Statesboro was efficient in containing Kell's running game - holding Randolph to just 14 yards in the first half and 46 for the game - the Longhorns used a huge pass play to gain momentum. Petrik found Hunter Marshall in the left corner of the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown pass to give Kell a 7-3 lead.
Statesboro drove 50 yards on the ensuing drive, but the Longhorn defense made a crucial stop with 30 seconds left in the half. Linebacker Jordan Chambers sacked Statesboro quarterback Reid Pennington for a 15-yard loss to turn the ball over on downs.
That play forced the Blue Devils to make adjustments at the break.
"Kell's defense had their way with us in the first half, and their linebackers were making plays on us," Statesboro coach Steve Pennington said. "All we tried to do (in the second half) was to slow them down just an ounce."