It was done.
One week after winning at McQueen, the program’s biggest victory in years, Spanish Springs was going to suffer its worst loss over that same time span.
The Cougars trailed 35-19 with six minutes left Friday night, on the road, to a winless North Valleys team that hadn’t scored since its second game of the year.
High school football can be funny.
The Cougars (4-2, 2-0) recovered an onside kick, rattled off 19 straight and found a way to steal a 38-35 win over the Panthers (0-6, 0-2). It was Spanish Springs’ third-straight win, all ending with flurries.
The Cougars scored the final 29 two weeks ago to beat Galena and the final 20 last week at McQueen before Friday’s 19-0 close.
“The way this season is going, I’m not shocked by anything to be honest with you,” Spanish Springs coach Eric Borja said. “A very emotional win last week against McQueen, I guess you could probably say we had a bit of a hangover on that one. But that’s an excuse. And we’re not made of excuses.”
After recovering the onside kick inside of a minute left, the Cougars reached the Panthers’ 38, down 35-32. Borja wanted to get in field goal range to potentially tie the game. There was time for one last shot, however.
Korbin Marcum’s 63rd and final pass attempt of the night landed in the grasp of Austin Cadenhead in the end zone for the improbable game-winning touchdown with just 14 seconds left.
“The game of football is not two quarters, it’s not three, and it’s definitely not one. It’s four quarters,” Borja said. “You practice four quarters of football and you play four quarters of football … It’s something I preach to our kids and it’s something they’ve really bought into.”
Cadenhead has flourished in the final minute the last two weeks. He returned an interception 100 yards as time expired last week at McQueen. On Friday night, he was the one who recovered the onside kick to set up his own game-winning touchdown.
He finished with 98 yards and three touchdowns on six receptions.
Marcum completed 33 of the 63 pass attempts for 353 yards and five touchdowns compared with just one interception.
Cole Drescher led the team with 100 receiving yards on six receptions. Colton Allen caught 10 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Spanish Springs did run the ball 29 times for 147 yards.
The Cougars’ three-game winning streak is their first since 2012. They will try to push it to four games next Friday at home against Hug (0-5, 0-2).
Spanish Springs has not won four straight since it won the first five contests of the 2010 season.