APEX — Facing 4th and 2 from the Apex 10 yard line with 16 seconds to play, Athens Drive tailback Dominique Lynch wanted no part in playing into overtime against Apex on Friday night.
With some debate on the sidelines, the Jaguars opted to go for it, and Lynch saw to it the game would end in regulation. His 10-yard TD run with 11 seconds remaining secured a wild 27-23 win for the Jags.
"Coach told me just get the first down," said Lynch, who ran 29 times for 177 yards, caught three passes for 51 yards and had three touchdowns. "I wanted to score. I just wanted to end the game."
The last-minute winner put a bow on a back-and-forth night.
After two offensive series, Athens Drive had minus-7 yards and no first downs. Midway through the first quarter, Athens quarterback David Parker was injured while recovering a fumble. The game was delayed more than 20 minutes while trainers attended to him. He was taken off the field on a stretcher, and it was announced after the game he suffered a concussion.
On the first play after the delay, the Jaguars scored on a 69-yard double pass from Jamie Barnes to Scott Baird.
Trailing 10-7, Athens was poised to take the lead just before halftime. But a bad snap saw 2nd and short at the Apex 7 turn into 3rd and 28 from the Apex 32. Lynch took a screen pass and raced all 32 yards to the end zone, giving the Jags a 13-10 halftime lead.
The Jaguars dominated the third quarter, holding the Cougars to one first down on three offensive possessions. But they only were able to add one more score -- a Lynch 17-yard TD run -- for a 20-10 lead into the fourth quater.
Seemingly in command, Apex turned the game on its head when Grayson Boyd completed a 47-yard pass to Tim Darcelin. Boyd scored later on a 13-yard run, and suddenly the game was much closer, 20-16, with 4:34 to play.
The Jaguars fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Apex's Joey Copeland recovered it at the Athens 16. Three plays later, Ian Boyd tossed a 10-yard TD pass to Tristan Stoops for a 23-20 lead with 3:04 to go.
"I was mad. I was real mad," said Lynch. "I knew I had no other choice but to go score."
The Jaguars got the ball back with 3:04 61 yards to go to the end zone. They gave the ball to Lynch on nine of the 11 plays on the game-winning drive.
"Seems like every week we've got some sort of adversity that goes through this team," said Athens coach Chris Martin. "Our defense really stepped up, and our offense came alive. We're back to the type of football we want to play."