Confusion reigned at the end of regulation in a tie game between Northside High and Russell County at Kinnett Stadium on Friday night.
The game goes into the record books as a 14-14 tie.
The tie must be broken in a region contest, but the procedure is different for a non-region game.
"Normally, in a non-region game, we talk about it with the referee before the game, but we didn't," Northside coach Paul Cates said. "We had composure issues at the end. It was probably a rash decision, but I took the decision upon myself. It might have been hasty. The kids are not happy about it, but it's on me. I have to live with it."
First-year Russell County coach Demond McCoy and his Warriors also have to live with the decision. McCoy was calm but clearly disappointed that the outcome wasn't decided.
"We were prepared for sudden death, but their head coach (Cates) said he wasn't prepared to play," McCoy said. "Somebody deserved to win that game as hard as we fought in the second half."
Russell County had momentum late after trailing throughout the contest. The Patriots led 14-7 on Brady Pitts' second touchdown run early in the third quarter.
But the play of the game came with one tick left on the clock in the third. Northside went three-and-out from near midfield and Trent Nobles dropped back to punt. Russell County's Cameron Brooks fielded the punt at his own 10. A host of Patriots had Brooks wrapped up near the 20, but he eluded all tacklers and scampered 90 yards to bring the Warriors within a point.
Patrick Flynn's kick sailed wide, but a Northside penalty for illegal substitution gave Flynn another chance. The kick was good and the score tied 14-14 with 7:14 to play.
Cates tabbed the Brooks touchdown as the game's pivotal play.
"We had a chance to put the game away and went to sleep on that punt," Cates said. "Then the guy goes the distance."
Russell County had one more chance to earn the victory in regulation. After a Northside punt, the Warriors took over on the Patriot 26. On second down, quarterback Bryan Flemming spiked the ball to kill the clock with 4 seconds left and time for only one play. A personal foul call on the Northside bench moved the Warriors into position for a 27-yard field goal, but Flynn's attempt was blocked.
Northside is now 2-2-1 on the season with a bye week coming up. Russell County, now 1-3-1, plays at Brookstone next Friday.
Friday at Kinnett
Russell County 0 0 7 7--14
Northside 0 7 7 0 14
N--Brady Pitts 1 run (Caleb Harbin kick) 1:01
N--Pitts 64 run (Harbin kick) 10:54
RC--Marquez Grier 5 run (Patrick Flynn kick) :01
RC--Cameron Brooks 90 punt return (Flynn kick) 7:14
Records: Russell County 1-3-1; Northside 2-2-1. Next: Russell County at Ben Russell, Friday, 8 p.m.; Northside, at Thomas County Central, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.