Running back Sean Mc-Millon ran in from the 6-yard line with 3 seconds remaining to complete a stunning fourth-quarter comeback and lead Manitou Springs to a 32-28 victory over St. Mary’s at Washburn Field on Friday night. The Mustangs (1-1) trailed by nine points late in the final quarter. But Taegen Zimdahl’s interception of a Mike Garcia pass on the St. Mary’s 21-yard line set up a 1-yard rush by quarterback Brady Quarry with 5:46 remaining. A 13-play, 72-yard drive, culminating in McMillon’s run, gave coach George Rykovich one of the most thrilling victories in 45 years on the sidelines. “I’m proud of our guys,” Rykovich said. “We never gave up and that’s a great lesson for our team. We really needed this victory.” The Mustangs, however, almost cost themselves the game before the gamewinning score. With the ball at the St. Mary’s 1-yard line and time for only one more play, Manitou was whistled for an illegal procedure call when a lineman moved. That moved the ball back to the 6, but it made no difference to McMillon. “Everyone knew what they had to do,” McMillon said, giving special credit to junior Charlie Baker, the lead blocker, who created the hole on the rush through the left side. “We weren’t going to change anything.” For much of the night, the Pirates appeared to be well in control. They never trailed until McMillon scored the game-winner. The Pirates broke a 6-6 tie midway through the second quarter when senior Ryan Craft took a kickoff and traveled 92 yards into the end zone. A 2-point conversion on a pass from Mike Garcia to senior William Gohl gave the Pirates a 14-6 lead. After Manitou scored again with Quarry going over from 13 yards out, Craft again grabbed the spotlight. He took a short pass from Garcia and scrambled 43 yards to the Manitou 1 before Garcia went in to make it 21-12 at the half. There was no scoring in the third quarter, but McMillon scored on a rush from the 5 to close the gap to 21-19. Then it was Craft again, this time going 69 yards with a Garcia toss to give St. Mary’s a 28-19 lead. “This is his first year of getting varsity playing,” said St. Mary’s coach Matt Walter, “so we’ve always felt that Ryan was capable of doing these things and now he’s finally getting an opportunity to do them.” The game seemed out of reach when Manitou’s ensuing drive stalled on its 35 with the clock ticking down. But Quarry punted 60 yards, the ball rolling dead on the St. Mary’s 5-yard line. On the next play, Garcia scrambled to his right, then threw upfield. The ball was deflected and grabbed by Zimdahl, the second interception of the game for Manitou and the play that shifted the momentum. “You never say you have the game put away, but we were in good shape in the fourth quarter,” Walter said. “But I think the tide started to turn when that punt went down to the 5-yard line and we had the interception right away. “I’m guessing anybody watching went through the full gamut of emotions,” Walter added. “Obviously we’re very disappointed to lose the game.” The Pirates had one last chance to win it. They took a short kickoff, then moved to the Manitou 48 on a roughing the passer penalty with no time on the clock, getting one last play because a game cannot end on a defensive penalty. But Garcia was sacked on the final passing attempt. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0250 or email@example.com
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