When Haughton pulled within one point of No. 8 seed Chalmette with 15 seconds to play Friday night, there was no hesitation as to what the Bucs would do.
There would be no extra-point kick to send the game into overtime. The No. 25 seed Bucs went for the win.
Haughton ran a throwback pass to quarterback Jalen Lewis. He was open but the pass was incomplete.
That enabled the Owls (8-1) to avoid the upset and advance with a 21-20 victory on their home field.
“We decided that back on Monday or Tuesday,” said Haughton Head Coach Jason Brotherton, whose team finished 5-6, of the decision to go for two. “There was never a doubt about that. We rode six hours down here, came from two touchdowns down at halftime and we’re a 25 seed.
“If we had a chance to run one play and win it we were going to try to run one play and win it.
We knew, the kids knew. We knew what play we were running. It was kind of all already decided. We got it wide open and didn’t get the ball there.”
With sophomore Lewis subbing for injured two-year starter Colin Rains, Haughton battled back from a 14-0 halftime deficit with two third-quarter touchdowns.
The first came on a 29-yard pass from Lewis to Coleman Stafford. Lewis, who is normally a wide receiver, took a long lateral pass from Tyler Rhodes before hitting a wide open Stafford.
Lewis’ 48-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Douglas and Carter Ebarb’s second PAT tied the game at 14 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
Chalmette scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:28 left in the game.
The Bucs rallied again, embarking on a drive that started deep in their territory. Stafford picked up big yardage after a reception, breaking several tackles in the process.
Haughton converted a fourth-and-1 at the 7 with 42 seconds left. Rhodes went in from the 1 from the Wildcat formation, setting up the two-pint conversion attempt.
“What a great high school football game,” Brotherton said. “Tough to lose but just an awesome game all the way around.
“Just really proud. We were down 14-0 at halftime and fought back and they scored again, but we’re down a touchdown with four minutes left and we fought back again and had a chance to win it. So you can’t ask for any better effort from your kids than what we got tonight.”
The Haughton defense held the Owls to just two touchdowns. Chamette’s first TD came on a fumble return early in the game.
The Bucs outgained the Owls 308-216, per Haughton stats. Chalmette attempted only four passes, completing one for six yards.
Lewis was pressed into service after Rains suffered a broken collarbone in last week’s game against Parkway.
He completed 10 of 17 passes for 149 yards and the two touchdowns with one interception. Lewis also rushed for 64 yards on 14 carries.
“Jalen did a great job, gave us a chance to win and that’s all we had asked him to do was give us a chance and he did that,” Brotherton said.
Stafford caught three passes for 73 yards in his final game. Rhodes, a junior, rushed for 95 yards on 24 carries.