It seemed to take Cabell Midland forever - well, more than three quarters - to get one of its 1,000-yard rushers into the open field, but when the Knights finally did, they sure knew what to do with it.
A pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a closing 77-yard burst by David Gaydosz, rescued top-ranked Midland from its first defeat Friday night and the Knights held on for a 21-13 victory over Capital at chilly Laidley Field.
Midland (8-0), the No. 1 team in the Class AAA playoff ratings, had trailed 13-7 from the opening quarter all the way until the final period before its late push.
"I knew it was going to be this way,'' said Knights coach Luke Salmons. "Capital is very good, and I felt like this game would be the toughest because of who they are. They're very explosive.
"We didn't play our best. We had a lot of turnovers and we didn't execute at times, so it's just one of those things you fight through. I'm happy for the kids. They responded in the second half.''
Fullback Lowell Farley and tailback Gaydosz, each of whom has run for more than 1,000 yards this season, finally broke into the open field in the fourth quarter to help Midland wipe out its deficit against an inspired Capital defense.
From the Capital 35 early in the third quarter, Farley shook off a tackle at the line of scrimmage and barreled down the right sideline. He appeared to make it all the way into the end zone, but was ruled to have stepped out at the 3-yard line. On the next play, Stephen Matthews carried it in for the touchdown.
Chris Molina's extra point handed the lead to Midland for the first time at 14-13 with 11:29 left in the game.
"I made a move, and I was glad to get in the open field,'' Farley said.
"Capital . . . we took them for granted, and we shouldn't have. They were a lot better than we thought they were.''
Capital (4-3), the No. 12 team in AAA, converted a fake punt on its next possession when Kashaun Haley (one of two 100-yard rushers on the night for the Cougars) ran for 10 yards, but soon after punted it back. It didn't take Midland long to break off another long one.
On Midland's next offensive play, Gaydosz turned the corner around right tackle and outran the Cougars defenders for his 77-yard score to bump the lead to 21-13.
Capital still had a chance to send it into overtime with a TD and 2-point conversion, and got one more drive going late in the game.
A 17-yard pass from Tyhree Pratt to James Richmond put the ball on the Midland 44 and the Cougars soon faced a fourth-and-1 from the 35 with about four minutes left.