Millwood was beaten. Or so it seemed.
Game tied. Bishop McGuinness' ball. Fourth-and-goal. One-yard line. Two seconds remaining.
It was in this seemingly hopeless situation that Falcons defensive tackle Bobby Wilkes came to linebacker Marc Robinson in tears and promised to open a gap.
“I said, ‘If you open it up for me, I promise you that I will block the field goal,'” Robinson said.
Wilkes did just that. He opened the hole, Robinson got his body in front of Will Thompson's low kick and sophomore Larry Lambeth scooped the ball up and ran it all the way back to give the Falcons an unbelievable 27-21 win Friday at Pribil Stadium.
“I was tired, but I sucked it up and ran it in,” Lambeth said.
“You've gotta play through adversity.”
The Falcons faced plenty of that on Friday — much of it self-inflicted.
In fact, McGuinness' three touchdown drives began at Millwood's 10-, 8- and 10-yard lines, respectively.
The first two were results of bad long snaps on punts. The last one, in the fourth quarter, happened after a Millwood fumble on a bad exchange.
After that Irish score, which left Millwood down 21-14, the Falcons went for it on a fourth-and-1 near midfield and were stuffed with 4:44 remaining.
But on the next play, Robinson sat back, picked off McGuinness quarterback Camden Tharp and returned it to the Irish 10-yard line to set up the tying score.
“We can't sit there and feel sorry for ourselves; we've just gotta keep playing,” Millwood coach Tony Henry said. “And it just shows a lot of character for those guys.”
The Falcons are still kicking themselves for not finishing in last week's Soul Bowl loss to Douglass. But that loss taught Millwood that playing a full four quarters is essential.
“Against Douglass, we came out flat in the second half,” Robinson said. “We actually did (in Week 1) against Star (Spencer), too. But in this game, we really, really, really wanted to take pride in coming out in the second half.
“That's prime-time football. It doesn't get any better than that.”
Robinson, a senior, was Millwood's prime-time star. In addition to the blocked field goal and the interception, he rushed for 91 yards — including a 55-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that tied the game at 14.
But it was the young guys — like Lambeth and freshman running back Sheldon Bulock, who had 14 carries — that Robinson came away most impressed with.
“We got a lot of guys — sophomores and freshmen — that are playing key positions,” Robinson said. “These guys do not quit.
“These guys get picked on; they get beat, but they never quit.”