BURLINGTON — If the Clinton River Kings were going to complete the comeback Friday, Burlington was sure going to make them earn it.
With under two minutes to play, the Grayhounds backed Clinton all the way against the shadow of their own goal posts, with the River Kings trailing 30-28, with enough time and timeouts for one more offensive drive. Clinton coach Lee Camp said, at the time, he was only thinking field goal.
Instead, Clinton marched 94 yards, on eight plays in roughly 90 seconds. And from the 19-yard line, River Kings quarterback Eric Maddasion (as he had seven other times this season) spotted 6-foot, 8-inch Brady Ernst in the middle of the end zone for the go-ahead score, giving Clinton another thrilling, last-second victory and making the team's playoff picture a little less murky.
"We try to keep them exciting," Camp said after the 34-30 victory. "We really picked up our tempo on that final drive. We were getting plays in and called. I thought our offensive line did a tremendous job giving us protection.
"My thoughts were just to get us close to a field goal. They (Burlington) changed around their defense and we found some nice holes in the middle. We really used the clock wisely I thought. ... All of a sudden we have that last shot."
Clinton entered the half trailing 21-7, with Burlington getting the ball to start the second half. The Grayhounds eventually built their lead to 30-14 early in the fourth quarter.
The River Kings responded with a 20-point swing. Maddasion connected with Ernst on their second of three scores on the night. On the next drive, Dustin Caldwell punched it in from the 3, putting Clinton a two-point conversion away from tying the game.
Burlington thwarted the conversion. With just under five minutes remaining, the Grayhounds chewed up clock before punting and setting up Clinton's late drive of desperation.