Ask Stillwater sophomore quarterback Nick Kinsey, who logged just his fourth varsity game on Friday. Or ask Mounds View activities director and former longtime football coach Jim Galvin about the Ponies' improbable 21-17 victory Friday. The reaction is the same: never seen one like that before.
"That's one of the craziest games I've ever been a part of," said Kinsey, who finished with three touchdown passes.
Drama began in late the fourth quarter. The Ponies led 14-10 and lined up in "victory formation" to kneel out the clock. But the ball came loose on the snap. Kinsey protested as Mounds View senior Peter Nguyen recovered the fumble and dashed 94 yards for a 17-14 lead with 1:07 remaining.
"There was someone on their team reaching over and messing with the snap," Kinsey said. "But I've got to give it to them for trying to win. I thought it was coming back and the game was over. But we made it a little interesting and we found a way to get a great team win."
Stillwater had regrouped from a halftime deficit for a 14-10 lead. A pair of third-down touchdown passes had the Ponies, 3-1 and ranked ninth in Class 6A, sensing victory.
Losing the lead in a dramatic way didn't faze the Ponies. One punch remained, and Stillwater landed it.
"There was a little chatter on the headphones among our coaches that we need to be ready for end-of-the-game type plays," Ponies coach Beau LaBore said. "But we said no. We had [1:07] and three timeouts, so we need first downs. We're kind of built for this. We practice this scenario all the time."
Across the field, coach Aaron Moberg knew the remaining time and Stillwater's three chances to stop the clock could spell trouble for Mounds View (2-2).
"We knew they have a good passing attack because they have some weapons," Moberg said. "They had a couple great throws and catches."
Those were Kinsey hitting Tanner Schmidt for a pair of clutch completions, the second one going for an 8-yard touchdown with eight seconds remaining.
"We had pretty good coverage, and their kid made a play," Moberg said. "It's a game we will never forget, that's for sure. We were just hoping to be able to remember it as a win."