HURRICANE - Capital had apparently learned its lesson. But then again, so did Hurricane.
Austin Hensley drove the Redskins 80 yards in the final minutes Friday night, then capped the effort on a 1-yard touchdown run with nine seconds left, giving Hurricane a dramatic 23-20 victory and keeping its Class AAA playoff hopes alive.
Trailing 20-17, Hurricane (3-2) took over at its own 20 with 5:13 remaining and inexorably marched downfield in 15 plays to gain the lead. That included converting a fourth-and-6 at its own 24 and a third-and-9 from its own 42.
"That showed heart and character on that last drive,'' Hensley said, "and it paid off.''
For Hurricane, it sort of settled the score from earlier in the season when it failed on a last-minute scoring chance and lost 35-34 at Woodrow Wilson.
"If we had done this against Woodrow Wilson, we'd have already won three games,'' said Jeremy Taylor, the Redskins' first-year coach. "But I made some dumb calls then. So I'm learning, too. I'm young, too.''
For Capital, the hard lesson had come just a week ago, as it grabbed a 17-0 halftime lead against South Charleston, only to fritter it away in a disheartening 20-17 loss.
On Friday, the script was nearly flip-flopped.
The Cougars (3-2) trailed 10-0 at halftime in a game in which they were completely dominated. They had zero first downs and 3 net yards.
However, before the third quarter was over, they'd vaulted into a 13-10 lead on a 6-yard run by Kashaun Haley and a 59-yard interception return for a score by Tyrell Davis.
Hurricane answered with its own TD drive, taking a 17-13 lead on a 24-yard pass from Hensley to Koi Turner in which Turner lunged to make a great catch in the end zone.
Capital, however, needed just two plays to go back in front.
Haley returned the ensuing kickoff 29 yards to his 36 and James Richmond bolted 50 yards to the Hurricane 14. Haley took it in on the next play, and the Cougars were up 20-17 with 9:56 left.
"I'm proud of what we did,'' said Capital coach Jon Carpenter. "Shoot, we had every reason to quit when we came out [for the second half] and lay down, but we came back. We grew up a little bit.