With seven seconds to go in the contest, the Page Patriots football team (13-1) completed an erasure of multiple deficits to the Henry County Patriots (9-6) and captured the 5A state semifinal win, 56-52, at home Friday night.
This earned the team their first state championship appearance in school history.
“It means everything for our team,” said Page quarterback Jake McNamara. “We have grinded all offseason for this one moment, and we got it. Our big statement this week was that we were going to make history. We knew we had to battle. All we had to do was keep answering their blows. We just kept fighting and never gave up.”
McNamara had a monster game, throwing for 442 yards and seven touchdowns in the win.
The Patriots scored 35 points in the fourth quarter after being down to Henry County 31-14 into the third quarter.
“I am happy for all of my teammates and that we got it done,” said Page wide receiver Max Collins.
In the first quarter, it was a defensive struggle as neither side was able to break through in the contest, remaining 0-0.
Page broke through early in the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown pass by senior quarterback Jake McNamara to junior wide receiver Boyce Smith to give them the 7-0 lead.
Henry County answered on their next drive ending with a 2-yard rushing touchdown by junior quarterback Ryan Damron to tie the game at 7.
With 7:26 remaining in the first half, McNamara delivered a strike to Smith from 31 yards out to give the Page Patriots a 14-7 lead.
Later in the second quarter, Henry County tied the game with an 11-yard scramble into the end zone by Ryan Damron, 14-14.
Henry County took the lead at halftime 17-14 on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Aiden Frey.
At the beginning of the third quarter, Henry County running back Cole Townsend executed an electric run from 56 yards out to stretch the Henry County lead 24-14.
Later in the frame, Henry County quarterback Ryan Damron accumulated his third rushing touchdown of the game on a 54-yard burst to extend their lead to 31-14.
Page got a rally going in the third as McNamara hit Smith at the end of a drive for a 4-yard touchdown pass to cut into the Henry County lead 31-21.
Henry County answered with a successful drive ending in a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Cole Townsend early in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead 17 points, 38-21.
McNamara continued to surge in the fourth quarter, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Meyer cutting into the Henry County lead, 38-28.
However, Henry County continued to churn on offense as Cole Townsend busted his way into the end zone from 57 yards out to increase the lead to 45-28 with 6:46 remaining.
Page battled back as McNamara executed a perfect 23-yard touchdown pass to Michael Meyer to shrink the deficit, 45-35.
The Page Patriots continued the rally with a touchdown pass from McNamara to Meyer cutting the Henry County lead to 45-42 with 4:32 remaining in the game.
Henry County achieved a one play drive as they picked up a crushing 70 yard touchdown run from Cole Townsend with 4:15 remaining in the game, pushing the lead to 52-42.
With 2:35 remaining, running back Ethan Cunningham capped off a drive for Page ending in a 1-yard rushing touchdown to cut into the Henry County lead, 52-49.
Henry County tried to kill the clock, but Page recovered a fumble in Henry County territory, giving them new life.
As the clock ticked down, the Page Patriots finished the comeback with seven seconds remaining as McNamara hit Max Collins for the game winning touchdown, sealing the victory 56-52.
“We called a fade in the huddle,” said Colorado State commit Jake McNamara. “I told Max to go get this ball. He said that he wanted it. All I had to do was put it in his area, and he came down with it.”
“Coach Rathbone said we didn’t have enough time, so we had to throw a jump ball to Max,” said Max Collins. “Jake made a really good pass, and I came down with it.”
Page will move on to their first state championship appearance in school history, playing Powell High School on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.
“We got to battle and keep making history,” said McNamara. “We are the underdog every game, and we have to keep that chip on our shoulder.”
“It is going to be a tough game, but we have got to do what we did tonight on offense,” said Collins.