Jack Kimmel's Lakeville South football teammates often call him Jimmy in jest because of the late-night television host.
On Friday, Kimmel proved himself worthy of prime time. He split the uprights from 31 yards out with no time remaining for a 24-21 victory against rival Lakeville North.
"I lined it up, took a deep breath and exhaled," Kimmel said. "I looked up at the goalposts, looked down at the ball and I was ready. It was a great moment for me and my teammates."
No. 2 Lakeville South (3-0) set up Kimmel's dramatic finish with two key plays down the stretch. Trailing 21-14 and facing fourth down and 12 yards to go from near midfield, quarterback Gaven Dean hit junior running back Bo Bokman for a key first down.
"We just installed that play this week, and we had never run it before," Dean said. "And our number one wideout was sick tonight, so that was a random wide receiver running a random route. So that was kind of a miracle right there."
Bokman, a junior transfer from Bethlehem Academy in Faribault, managed an even bigger play later in the drive.
One play after a Lakeville North pass interference penalty, South cashed in with a 14-yard Bokman touchdown run.
Miracle No. 2 was a gift from No. 3 Lakeville North. The Panthers' plans to break the 21-21 deadlock never materialized. A fumbled snap put the ball in South's hands just 19 yards from the end zone with 50 seconds on the clock.
"We were expecting overtime," Dean said. "But we got a couple bounces that were a surprise but exciting."
The late loss spoiled an otherwise memorable night for the Lakeville North offense. The Panthers coaches have options for offensive drives they could use as an instructional template.
The Panthers traversed 85 yards for an opening-drive score before adding an 80-yard jaunt for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Those are moments coach Brian Vossen plans to build on.
"Our kids played their butts off, and the crowd got their money worth," Vossen said. "But it's Week 3. This was a great game and a fun atmosphere, but I'll lose every single one of them forever to win more Prep Bowls. If we can learn and grow from this, I think there is a good chance we will see them in the playoffs. And I welcome that."