Sale Creek senior quarterback Camden Penny stood on the fresh grass at Davidson Stadium last Friday night looking on in amazement and a little bit of shock.
With the clock nearing midnight, Penny delivered the 10th and final lead change as he hit sophomore receiver Lucas Mathis with a 38-yard strike in the end zone. It was Penny's eighth and final touchdown of a game he and many will never forget.
The Panthers made history setting a school record for points in a 74-67 shootout victory over Mount Juliet Christian Academy. Penny completed 17-of-29 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns and also carried the ball 19 times for 100 yards and three more scores, an effort that has earned Times Free Press Player of the Week honors.
"The ending of the game is still all a blur to me," Penny said. "It was an unreal feeling to win that game. I have never been a part of something like that. On the final touchdown pass everything felt like it was frozen in time. I just stood there and was like wow. It was hard to process what happened. It was surreal."
In a game where the two sides combined for 1,121 total yards, 89 first half points and 20 touchdowns — which included five rushing and passing scores for both sides — Sale Creek (3-4) had its first miraculous moment at their new home.
Trailing 67-58 with three minutes left to play, the Panthers marched their way downfield for a long scoring drive as Nick Hall caught his fourth touchdown pass of the day from Penny with 57 seconds left. Sale Creek's seventh successful 2-point conversion of the game on a pass from Penny to Mathis cut the deficit to one.
Freshman kicker Michael Gilley then delivered as he helped the home sideline recover their second onside kick of the night. Two plays later, Penny sealed the deal in perhaps the state's most exciting high school football game so far this year.
"The game went score, score, score," said Penny of a game in which both sides punted only once. "I wasn't even thinking about stats or what was going on because we were on the field every two minutes offensively. That is the greatest game I've ever seen and I was just trying to score and help our team win."
Other heroic performances for the Panthers came from senior Drew Hillian who had 132 total yards, a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions. He is just one of three senior starters along with Khale Mooneyham and Penny.
Hall finished with 174 yards (121 receiving, 53 rushing) and eight tackles while Mathis provided the game-winning catch and 108 receiving yards.
Celebrating the victory was sweet for coach Ron Cox's team, which believes the historic win could serve a huge purpose in the future for a program that is building excitement.
"I know there were a bunch of little kids watching that football game," said Penny, who has 20 touchdowns this season. "Because after the game they all came up to me and other guys on the team and were really excited.
"Hopefully them seeing moments like this will make them want to grow up and play here and have success. I hope this win helps our football program grow numbers to where we have a lot more than just over 30 kids a year coming out to play."
Sale Creek will have a big region 3-1A test at home this Friday night as they face South Pittsburg (5-1, 1-0) at 8 p.m.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.