West Forsyth coach Frank Hepler gambled and won Friday night against Chestatee when his team's 2-point conversion after an overtime touchdown was the difference in a 42-41 victory.
The Wolverines (7-2, 2-2 Region 7B- AAA) overcame an early 20-0 deficit but missed a potential game-winning field goal with 2.8 seconds left in regulation, and the teams headed to overtime in a 34-34 tie.
Chestatee struck first in overtime when Ben Souther pounded in his fourth touchdown of the game from the 3 and a 41-34 lead with the PAT.
Lance Baker, who finished with four touchdown passes and one rushing, answered the call with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jason Klanac.
Instead of kicking the extra point, Hepler decided to go for two points and the win. Baker took the handoff, rolled to his right and took off for the pylon at the corner of the end zone, scoring to end the game.
"Chestatee was a great team," Baker said. "We have a great team. I am very proud of every one on the team. Coach Hepler tells us that the four days of practice and hard will take care of itself on Friday nights."
Addressing his team afterward, Hepler said, "You believed. Tonight, that was football, and this is why you play the game, and it is the greatest game on earth. You all have a lot of pride. You stayed disciplined all the time."
"Greatest comeback in Wolverine history," another coach added.
For Souther, who ran the ball 36 times for 219 yards, it was a hard loss to take.
"We could not have done anything different," Souther said. "We played hard and they are a good team. We will come back next week have a good week of practice and come out next Friday night ready to play hard."
"We gave so much effort and we just came up a little short," Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell said. "We played hard and our defense gave a ton of pressure on the missed field goal to get us in to overtime. We can build on this loss we have a group of seniors who want to finish strong next week."
Coming off two straight losses, the War Eagles (4-5, 3-2 7A-AAA) jumped out to a 20-0 deficit after the first quarter.
After a muffed punt was recovered by the War Eagles on West Forsyth's 39-yard line, Ben Souther ran in from 26 yards three plays later for a quick 6-0 lead after the PAT failed.
West Forsyth then fumbled to Chestatee, and seven plays later, Souther scored from 26 again on fourth-and-inches to make it 13-0.
After West Forsyth was forced to punt, it took only two plays for Souther to find the end zone for a third time in the first quarter from 42 yards.
Baker then drove the Wolverines downfield, and on the first play of the second quarter, found tight end Andy Cameron for a 12-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, making it 20-6.
After a Chestatee fumble, West Forsyth recovered on its own 48. Two plays later, Baker found running back Parker Chapman for a 50-yard touchdown to cut the margin to 20-13.
Chestatee scored again on a solid 14-play drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Alex Moore. The extra point boosted the lead back to 27-13.
With 1:04 left in the first half, West Forsyth scored on a 23-yard touchdown run by Ben Emert to cut the score of 27-20 at the break.
West Forsyth tied it in the third quarter after Baker ran in on a 1-yard sneak, the extra point making it 27-27.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Chestatee quarterback Ethan Souther threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Justin Byers to put the War Eagles back on top.
On the next drive, Baker answered with his third touchdown pass, this one to Ethan Shirley from 19 yards. The PAT tied it at 34-34.
Chestatee then drove inside the West Forsyth 25, but on the 17th play of the six-minute march, Souther was intercepted by Trey Rood.
Baker completed four passes to put his team in field goal range. The 31-yard try was good, but a false-start penalty took the points away and backed the Wolverines up 5 yards. On the second attempt from 36, the kick hooked wide left to force overtime.
West Forsyth next play hosts to East Hall. The War Eagles play host to Creekview.