Not only was it the first playoff win in program history, but Mount Paran had to stop two potential game-tying drives with less than 5 minutes to play to do it.
After Dallas Kepler’s 39-yard field goal gave the Eagles (9-2) a 31-24 lead with 4:57 to go, Our Lady of Mercy (5-6) drove the ball into Eagles territory.
Taylor Trammell, who also had 122 yards rushing and a touchdown, put an end to the drive when he intercepted a pass to give Mount Paran the ball back.
The Bobcats had one more chance with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Still trailing by seven points, Our Lady was driving inside the Eagles 20 when a group of Mount Paran defenders forced a fumble.
The ball was recovered by Matthew Norton to secure the Eagles victory. They will travel to Augusta next week to face undefeated Aquinas in the state quarterfinals.
“The atmosphere for our first home playoff game was incredible,” Jordan said. “We knew that it would be a hard-fought game and we’re fortunate to make some plays at the end.”
After a Silas Hicks fumble recovery in Our Lady territory, Mount Paran scored first on a 5-yard touchdown run by Dorian Walker midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. Walker finished the first half with 81 rushing yards and two touchdowns but didn’t play in the second half due to injury.
Members of the Eagles’ coaching staff said Walker’s status for next Friday’s game is unknown.
Our Lady responded on its next possession when Jameson Vest ran a quarterback keeper for a 61-yard touchdown, tying the score at 7-7. Vest finished with a team-high 96 yards rushing and 105 yards passing for the Bobcats.
The Eagles ended the first quarter on a high note when Walker converted a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, running through several Our Lady defenders into the end zone, allowing the Eagles retake the lead 14-7.
Mount Paran continued its strong offensive play in the first half with a 68-yard touchdown pass from Jake Allen to Emoni Williams with 6 minutes left before halftime for a 21-14 lead.
Allen had a team-high 138 yards passing on six completions, each of them to Williams.
“Emoni is such a great athlete, an incredible player and competitor for us,” Jordan said.
A 5-yard touchdown run by Taylor Trammell with 2:50 left in the second quarter increased the Eagles lead to 28-14.
“Taylor had an incredible night for us running the ball hard for us and getting that key interception for us,” Jordan said.