Instant Classic

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By Darren Kinnard

CARTERVILLE -- Many times, games do not live up to the pre-game hype.

The second round 3A playoff matchup between Mt. Carmel and Carterville not only lived up to the hype, but the Aces and Lions delivered a game that people will be talking about for years to come.

For three plus quarters, the Aces dominated play. Senior quarterback Reece Metcalf shredded the Lions' defense through the air and on the ground, helping Mt. Carmel carry a 42-13 lead into the fourth quarter.

Carterville slowly chipped away, cutting it to 42-20. Then after cutting it to 42-26, the Lions recovered an onside kick.

They methodically marched down the field, with precious seconds ticking away. Finally, with 50 seconds left, Michael Aschemann scored on fourth down. He then ran in the two-point conversion to cut it to 42-34, and the Lions still had life.

Carterville then executed a second perfect onside kick, setting up a final 45 seconds that was unthinkable just 20 minutes of real time before. Unthinkable just 5 minutes before.

Aschemann hit fellow senior Dalton Hoch for a 23-yard touchdown as time expired to pull Carterville within 42-40. Aschemann then found Hoch again for the two-point conversion, tying it at 42--sending the game into overtime. And sending the orange-clad Lions' faithful that stuck around into a frenzy.

Carterville got the ball first in overtime, and who else, Aschemann, ran it in from ten yards out. The extra point was good, and the Lions had their first lead of the day at 49-42.

Following an incompletion and bad snap, the Aces faced third and goal from the 22, but Metcalf hit Levi Laws on a swing pass, and Laws did the rest finding the endzone to make it 49-48.

The Aces went for two and the win with who else, Metcalf, plowing his way into the endzone for the game winning conversion. 50-49 was the final in overtime.

Mt. Carmel improves to 10-1 and is headed to the quarterfinals with a home game against Greenville next week.

Carterville finishes a great season at 10-1.

Anybody fortunate enough to see this instant classic is left to shake his or her head, and know they'll have a story to tell for years to come.
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