“We had lost two in a row and we came back home to eat,” said Carter. “Everybody was hungry and we got the win.”
The victory required a last-minute drive after the Mustangs (1-1) used a reverse to Dennis Bell for a 26-yard gain, setting up a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Nigel Hayes to tie the game at 28-28.
“It was a back and forth battle all night long,” said Youngblood. “We just made some plays that we hadn’t made the first two games.
“I’m just proud of these kids and the coaches for all the hard work and effort they’ve put in for us to finally get our first victory.”
The Eagles (1-2) took over at their own 35-yard line and quickly moved the ball as Hayes connected with Johnny Richard for a 17-yard gain. The next play appeared to be a pitch to Michael Lapeyrolerie, but the sophomore who played some time under center stopped and lofted a pass down the sidelines.
“We’ve been working on some different things for a little wrinkle,” said Youngblood. “We started up early in the game (because) we felt there were some things we could take advantage of.
“When they pressed up man and saw us throw that ball, we felt it was gonna be wide open. It was a good call by the ref because our receiver was getting held.”
The flag placed the ball on the 38-yard line and set up the game-winning throw from Carter to Jarrell Pinkney.
“We had to go out and execute,” said Carter. “My linemen did what they did, my receiver caught the ball and that’s all we had to do.”
It appeared that he wouldn’t be able to do anything early in the final quarter after he stayed down following a 4-yard run, one of 11 carries for 55 yards.
“In this offense, it’s gonna be hard for us to run one quarterback,” Youngblood said. “We’ve worked on a two-quarterback scheme in practice and we’ve always told them that it doesn’t matter who’s in. Our offense isn’t going to be broken down, no matter who’s in the game.”
Lapeyrolerie had primarily been used as a rusher, finishing with 12 carries for 74 yards, but on the second play after Carter’s injury, he hit Dorquincy Jordan on a slant pattern for a first down.
“I knew (Lapeyrolerie) was going to go in there and do what he had to do,” said Carter.
The Mustangs had a chance in the final seconds as Jamari Carter, who finished with 21 carries for 201 yards, picked up a first down. A roughing the passer penalty followed and advanced the ball to midfield. But a hook-and-ladder play ended well short of the end zone.
“They stuck it to us and we couldn’t stop them. We couldn’t score when we needed to,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Andy Scott said. “We just have to do a better job of coaching. I’ll take full responsibility for that loss.”