It was everything you could have wanted in state final championship game as the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds scored with 0:26 left in regulation to defeat a very sound Caldwell County team, 30-26.
Quarterback Josh Cain hit Tyler Lyon with the game-winning pass from yards out as the clock was nearing triple zeroes. It gave the Thoroughbreds their fifth state title and second in the last three years under head coach Eddie Eviston. The contest was filled with twists, turns and drama.
After building a 21-14 lead at halftime, NewCath (11-4) found a Tigers team that refused to go away and ready for anything after the break.
Caldwell County (13-2) would score nine unanswered points in the third quarter. Eviston would put the NCC defense in a precarious situation after going for it on fourth down inside his own 15 yards line only to fail.
The Tigers would manage a field goal to capture their first lead at 23-21 heading into the final stanza. After the game the Thoroughbreds head coach questioned himself for going for it, but would praise his team for rising to the occasion.
Caldwell County sophomore quarterback Elijah Sindelar was smack dab in the middle of all the activity. The 6-foot-4 gunslinger threw for 258 yards and two scores. Two second-half interceptions were about the only flaws on the afternoon for the rising star. Receiver Martez Sivils would reel in 10 of Sindelar's balls for 123 yards and a score.
Dylan Hayes gained 105 yards with two touchdowns for the victors. The second time he found the end zone he would set the NCC record for touchdowns (34) and total points in a season (204). His classmate, Cain took home game MVP honors after throwing for 243 yards, running for 32 more yards with two scores through the air. Mac Franzen also set a new school mark with 1, 143 yards receiving in a season. The junior ended up with six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.