This year, the Trojans seemed well on their way to resuming their title quest, winning a Region 5AAAAAA title, capping an undefeated regular season and ascending to No. 1 in the state rankings.
But that quest came to a stunningly early end Friday as Lassiter lost to Brookwood, 24-21 in overtime, in a first-round Class AAAAAA playoff game at Frank Fillmann Stadium.
Lassiter (10-1) appeared to have the game under control with a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, but Brookwood (7-4), the fourth seed from Region 8AAAAAA, followed up field goals in the second and third quarters with an 15-point fourth to force the game into overtime.
Brandon Morrow’s 32-yard field goal in the extra period provided the winning points for the Broncos, who will now play at Mill Creek in the second round next week.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “We needed a couple more scores on offense, and we needed to get our defense off the field.”
It was an unexpected turn of events for a Lassiter team that just finished its second undefeated regular season in four years and had just achieved the top ranking in the state poll for the first time.
Lassiter got the ball first in overtime, starting on the Brookwood 15-yard line, and Lane Jackman ran 2 yards to move the ball to the 13.
On the next play, however, quarterback Eddie Printz threw an pass that was picked off by Brookwood defensive back Colin Cotter in the end zone, giving the Broncos possession of the ball.
Brookwood immediately went for the win, with Morrow’s 32-yard field-goal attempt clearing the uprights and completing the upset.
Morrow began Brookwood’s comeback with a 35-yard field goal with 2:06 remaining in the first half, and one for 41 yards with 3:32 left in the third quarter, to cut Lassiter’s lead to 21-6.
Lassiter fell short in its next chance to extend its lead when Luke Hardin missed a 34-yard field goal attempt with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter.
Brookwood jumped right back on its next possession as Moon threw a 56-yard pass to Cole to move the ball to the Lassiter 3 and set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Josh Brown with 6:44 left in the quarter.
The Broncos were successful on their 2-point conversion attempt as Moon ran the ball in on a quarterback keeper to cut their deficit to 21-14.
“We really struggled in the second half,” Irwin said. “They made adjustments on defense and we couldn’t get a score that could have put the game away. Our defense hung in there as long as they could, but, on offense, (Brookwood) made some good plays at the end of the game to get the win.”
Things looked much different in the first half as Lassiter scored a touchdown in the first quarter and two more in the second to jump out to a 21-0 lead.
The Trojans built their advantage on the ground instead of relying on usually potent passing game, which struggled throughout the contest.
Jackman scored on a 14-yard run with 6:35 remaining in the first quarter, while Hakim Shahid ran the ball in for a touchdown with 1:14 left in the quarter. Josh Danforth scampered 2 yards into the end zone with 7:22 left in the first half to give the Trojans a 21-0 lead.
“I’m so proud of our kids to keep fighting and not giving up and coming back against a really good football team,” Brookwood coach Mark Crews said. “Probably, everybody in the stadium counted us out in the middle of the second quarter. Our kids didn’t quit and it was a great victory for us and for our program.”