Platte County quarterback Tanner Clarkson didn’t see the end of his incredible final-minute touchdown pass that gave the Pirates the lead on Friday night.
He did, however, have a perfect view of the Liberty’s more improbable game-tying score in the final second of regulation.
Despite an insane final two minutes, the Pirates finished off a 35-28 overtime homecoming victory over Liberty.
Where to begin?
Liberty (5-1) rallied for two touchdowns, taking a 21-20 lead with 1:43 to play, despite having done nothing on offense for the previous 2 1/2 quarters.
The Pirates answered with 48.8 seconds left, when Clarkson hit Jon Watts for an improbable 69-yard touchdown on 4th and 10.
“I got lit up on that one. I saw him catch it as he was falling to the ground,” Clarkson said. “I don’t know if he scored or not, and I got up, and he was in the end zone. And I was happy.”
Watts didn’t know if he was the intended target, not that he particularly cared.
“I had my own teammate right there in front of me, but I muscled him out,” Watts said with a grin. “When I scored, I was like ‘OK, we had a good game, I put the team on my back, we’re going to win this game.’”
Liberty responded by driving 80 yards without any timeouts. Thomas Henrichs’ desperation heave on the final play of regulation was tipped, Drew Mackie caught it for a 28-yard touchdown with 0.2 left on the clock.
Each team took a turn ripping the other’s heart out, but it was Platte County who executed when things finally calmed down in overtime.
“When they scored, I was a good leader. I said ‘We got this, don’t worry about it,’” Watts said. “I had full confidence in my team. We worked too damn hard together. I knew we were going to win the game.”
Clarkson hit Devin Richardson for a 14-yard score in overtime, and the Pirate defense ended the game by holding Liberty to minus-5 yards on its overtime drive.
“It’s a crazy game,” Platte County coach Bill Utz said.
“I don’t even know how to explain it, to be honest. The nice thing about the overtime was getting to regroup. We got them back on track, and explained the situation a little bit. They responded to it and were able to make some plays.”
The right words — any words — were hard to find in the afterglow of such a wild game. The scoreboard — which still read PIRATES 35, GUEST 28 long after the crowd departed, said it all.