A quick turn of events very late in the game tipped the scales against the hosting West Carroll War Eagles, who suffered a hard-fought 46-38 region loss to the visiting Lake County Falcons Friday night in Atwood.
It was really anybody’s game from the opening kickoff until the last few seconds, and the scoreboard changed hands 11 times during the game. After Lake County tied it up 38-38 with 2:26 left to play in the fourth quarter, overtime was looking like a very real possibility if West Carroll failed to score on the following possession.
As it turned out, the Falcons held the War Eagles inside their own 30-yard line and forced the punt, but during that punt attempt, the ball was dropped and the punter was tackled, giving Lake County possession deep in West Carroll territory with just 11 seconds left on the clock.
And that turned out to be more than enough time as the Falcons scored on the very next play on an 18-yard pass. Lake County added two more on the conversion, leaving the War Eagles down by six with just under six seconds to do anything about it.
Starting their final possession at their own 35-yard line, the War Eagles managed two plays and a couple of yards gained before the final horn sounded.
The Falcons scored on their opening drive in the first quarter on a 51-yard TD run but were stopped on the conversion.
West Carroll jumped ahead by two midway through the first on an 18-yard keeper by Xander Moon followed by a two-point carry by Malik Lee.
After the Falcons were forced to punt, a West Carroll fumble opened the door for Lake County’s next touchdown on a 24-yard carry. The conversion was no good, but the Falcons were back on top 12-8 with two minutes left in the first.
But the War Eagles ended the first quarter on top 14-12 after a five-yard scoring run by Lee and a failed conversion at the 50-second mark.
The tables turned three more times in the second quarter.
The Falcons made it 18-14 in their favor at the 9:41 mark with a 20-yard TD pass and a failed two-point attempt.
At 6:16, Lee put it in from three yards out, and Moon legged it in for two to put West Carroll out front again 22-18.
At 2:45, Lake County scored from 16-yards out and added the two-pointer for a 26-22 advantage.
The War Eagles got within 10 yards of scoring late in the second quarter, but the clock cut them short, leaving the Falcons up by four at the half.
After two turnovers on downs in the third quarter, Moon hit Jacob Blankenship for six on a 21-yard pass play at the 4:46 mark, and then Moon ran it in for two. The War Eagles then held that 30-26 lead through the end of the third quarter.
The Falcons reclaimed the advantage 32-20 three and a half minutes into the fourth quarter after intercepting a Moon pass and then delivering a 61-yard touchdown, followed by a failed two-point attempt.
With 4:31 left in the game, Moon pushed his way into the end zone from four yards out and then did it again on the conversion to put West Carroll back in the lead 38-32.
But Lake County evened it up two minutes later with a 15-yard scoring carry followed by a failed conversion, and then the turnover and last-second score sealed the deal for the Falcons.
Now 4-3 overall and 2-2 in region competition, the War Eagles face two more region bouts in the regular season, including a home game against South Fulton Friday night and another hosting battle against Greenfield on Oct. 30.