The Boonville Pirates football team had only one last gasp while trailing the Fulton Hornets 39-36 Friday night in NCMC action at Fulton.
While battling back and forth for nearly 3 1/2 quarters of play, the Pirates had one last chance with the ball at their own 34 with 27 seconds left in the game.
But after three straight completions of 8, 11 and 9 yards to the Fulton 36-yard line, Boonville had just one final play with 4.6 seconds remaining to win the game against Fulton. So on first and 10 from the Fulton 36, senior quarterback Jacob Francis did the only thing he could do while throwing the ball in the end zone in hopes that a Boonville receiver came down with the ball. As it turned out, junior Austin Hulbert appeared to be in the right place at the right time while coming down with the pass from Francis as time expired to give the Pirates a thrilling 42-39 victory.
Of course the first half was just as close as the second as Fulton opened the game with a 76-yard scoring strike on the game's first place from quarterback Joe Schlemeier to Dalton Horstmeier to put the Hornets on top 7-0 with 11:41 left.
Meanwhile, after exchanging possessions on their next drives, the Pirates came back to tie the game at 7-all on a five-play, 66-yard drive capped off by a 2-yard run by senior running back Dakota Meyer.
The Hornets then came up with the game's first turnover of the ballgame on an interception at the Boonville 24. Five plays later, Fulton split the uprights on a 23-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-7 with 2:14 left in the first.
That's how the game remained until the 6:20 mark in the first half when sophomore running back Jordan Weaver found a hole in the middle and raced 83 yards for the touchdown to give the Pirates the lead at the half by a score of 14-10.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first, as the Pirates took the opening kick off and scored after running only three plays to get the score on a 53-yard pass from Francis to Hulbert with 10:47 left in the third to extend the lead to 21-10.
However, after taking the ball all the way down to the Boonville 7 on the insuing kick off, the Hornets came back three plays later with a score on a 3-yard run by Kegan Lee to cut the lead to 21-16 with 9:25 remaining.
The Pirates came right back after that by moving the ball eight plays down to the Fulton 8-yard line. But after failing to pick up the first down, Boonville had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by junior Josh Judd with 6:00 left in the third.
Fulton then came back with a 11-play drive which covered 58 yards. The 10-yard run by Travis Dean with 37 seconds left in the third cut the lead to 24-22. Fulton coach Pat Kelley then elected to go for two, which turned out to be the right call as Dean crossed the goal line again to tie the game at 24-24.
Both teams then struggled to do anything on their next-two possessions. Meanwhile, after taking over at the Fulton 44 with 6:33 left, the Pirates used only three plays to get the score when Francis hooked up with Hulbert on a 37-yard pass to go up 30-24. However, on the extra point attempt, Judd hit the left upright to leave the door open for the Hornets.
As it turned out, Fulton came right back on its next possession and took only six plays to get the touchdown after a 4-yard run by Kegan Lee. The Hornets then split the uprights on the PAT to regain the lead at 31-30 with 3:11 remaining.
But even that was short-lived as the Pirates struck again on a six-play drive when Francis hit senior tight end Tyler Peterson on a 24-yard scoring strike with 1:50 left to make it 36-31.
Boonville failed on the two-point conversion, which opened the door again for Fulton to rally back with a touchdown to grab the lead.
The Hornets, meanwhile, drove the ball 77 yards on 10 plays for the touchdown when Schlemeier hit Chris Tilson across the middle on a 17-yard scoring strike with 33 seconds remaining to go ahead 39-36.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, the Pirates had the final possessions which proved to be the difference on a Hail Mary pass with no time left for the victory.
Boonville, improving to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the NCMC, finished the game with 241 yards rushing and another 297 passing for a total of 538. Fulton, meanwhile, had 113 yards on the ground and another 278 in the air for a total of 391
On an individual note for the Pirates, Weaver had 12 carries for 143 yards and one touchdown while Francis rushed 11 times for 51 yards and Dakota Meyer 12 times for 47 yards and one score.
Francis also completed 19 of 31 passes for 297 yards with one interception and four touchdowns.
Austin Hulbert was the leading receiver in the game for Boonville with 11 catches for 207 yards and three scores while Peterson had five catches for 60 yards and one touchdown, Josh Judd two catches for 19 yards and Nick Zeitlow with one catch for 11