The Friday Night Lights truly shone at their brightest on Friday night in Nolensville as the Knights prevailed 27-21 over Page in overtime in a clash of the last two undefeated teams in Williamson County.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots (7-1) got on the scoreboard first when quarterback Colin Hurd found wide receiver Boyce Smith on a 17-yard touchdown just 20 seconds into the second period.
It was one of two second quarter touchdowns for Page, as Ethan Cunningham ran in a 23-yard score at the 3:45 mark to put the Patriots ahead 14-7 at the half. The drive was set up thanks to an interception and big return from defensive back Hudson Amason.
Sandwiched in between the two Page scores was a 65-yard bomb from Nolensville (8-0) quarterback Coby Walton to receiver Dylan Northcutt for the Knights first points of the game.
The Knights came out of halftime calm and ready to fight back. Linebacker Jackson Bandy leapt up and snatched a Hurd throw out of the air, setting up the offense deep in Patriots territory. The Knights then tied the game up at the 3:45 mark when wide receiver Chance Fitzgerald scored on a four-yard jet sweep.
"There was no panic," Nolensville head coach Paul Derrick said. "There was no worry. We just talked about some things we needed to adjust and keep doing the things we were doing on offense.
"Really, it was only about two or three plays that they made that was the difference in the game. I told them there's going to be plays there in the second half, and when we get those opportunities, we have to make those plays. And we did that. Our kids responded."
Page regained the lead at the top of the fourth quarter when Hurd found receiver Henry Cason one-on-one down the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown. The Patriots led 21-14 with just under 10 minutes to go.
On the subsequent drive, Nolensville converted a number of important first downs, including a fourth-and-seven from Walton to Fitzgerald. Running back Samson Johnson scored seven yards out to tie it at 21-21 with 3:26 to go.
Neither team was able to score in the final minutes of regulation, so the showdown fittingly headed to overtime.
On the first possession, Nolensville's Joseph Carano and Jaedan Wyatt stuffed Page on fourth-and-goal from the one. In response, the Knight offense scored to win the game on their first possession when Johnson found his way into the end zone from three yards out.
Nolensville, known for its explosive offense, had a number of defenders step up throughout. Alongside the big plays from Bandy, Carano, and Wyatt, defensive back Eric Harper intercepted a Hurd pass in the end zone in the first quarter and linebacker Taylor Wein wreaked havoc behind the line of scrimmage.
"They're playing well together," Derrick said. "They play hard. They're starting to, not just tonight but in recent weeks, understand how to play good team defense. Not only where you fit, but where everybody fits. And then that's when you start to build trust on that side of the ball. And as hard as they play, if we can trust each other to be where they're supposed to be, we can be pretty good on that side."
Page's defenders also made several impact plays, with linebackers Nate Hoath and Eric Hazzard and lineman Ronan O'Connell forcing tackles for loss and sacks.
Hurd finished 9-16 for 120 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Cunningham carried the ball 23 times for 71 yards and the score.
Walton was 21-32 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Johnson had 11 carries for 41 yards and two scores. Fitzgerald caught 11 passes for 99 yards and had the score on the ground, while Northcutt made three catches for 77 yards and the touchdown through the air.
Both teams, alongside all of Williamson County, are on bye next week. The Knights will take on Franklin on the road on Oct. 21, while Page will host Independence.