“We were down, so we needed a little spark from the offense,” Elliott said.
“That was a big run for them,” Panthers senior Nick Williams said. “That was hard for our defense, and it's hard to come back from that, once they score on a big run like that. It's hard to get momentum going again.”
Elliott said: “It was a huge play, and my offensive line did really good opening up the hole. I just saw the hole and ran through it and started running for my life. Zac Hare and Logan Alberts, the fullback and running back, did a great job opening it up.”
Milem said: “We knew with that kind of physical attack we had to put a lot of guys in the box. It made us nervous that if they missed a tackle they would pop one. For the most part we got it done, but for that one time in didn't, and that's all it took.”
The emotional lift might have been as important as the points.
“It pumps up the sidelines,” Elliott said. “Our fans are the best around, and everyone got pumped up, then we get the momentum going forward and we just kept rolling.”
If the first score didn't rip at the Panthers' hearts, the second one had to. It came with just 6.7 seconds left in the half after Stillman Valley took over at its 25 with 1:05 left after a punt.
On the first play, Elliott appeared to be stopped for a short game but spun free and was in another footrace. Noah Eads caught him after a 43-yard run, but a personal foul penalty tacked on 15 more yards.
“Those feel awesome,” Elliott said of the big runs, “and my offensive line does a great job, and I give them all the credit, and I just try to run hard every time.”