The New London-Spicer football team's motto "All Gas, No Brakes" is a misnomer wrapped inside a misspelling.
A tremendous break of their own making brought the Wildcats an improbable touchdown with no time remaining Saturday afternoon. New London-Spicer escaped with a 27-26 victory in the Class 3A Prep Bowl against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Quarterback Blake Schultz threw 34 yards to junior Grant Paffrath, who caught the ball, then lateralled it to trailing senior teammate Brycen Christensen to complete a 48-yard scoring play.
Paffrath and Christensen said their exchange was reactionary, not designed.
"I saw he was getting tackled, so I called his name," Christensen said.
"I didn't even see the end of the play," Paffrath said. "I just heard everyone yelling."
"What I want to know is why you were behind him," Wildcats coach Chad Gustafson said to Christensen. "Because I thought you were faster than him."
A more somber Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton coach Anthony Soderberg and standout senior Jordan Summers lamented losing their grip on the outcome.
On their final drive, the Rebels executed a 95-yard march and went ahead 26-21 as Summers scored with 24 seconds remaining. But second-ranked Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (12-1) had its hopes for a first Prep Bowl title dashed.
"You're going to lose sometimes," said Summers, who was the deep safety on the game's final play but was unable to get to Christensen in time. "But it's a hard one to choke down because you feel like you have it. Then you just don't."
No. 9 New London-Spicer (11-2) failed to score on two trips inside the Rebels 10-yard line. The second one came on a loss of downs, opening the door for a Rebels rally. Summers, nagged by an injury that kept him from practicing until Friday, completed the drive and day with 33 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Those miscues failed to rattle New London-Spicer. The Wildcats allowed opponents to score first in four playoff games this season. Finishing strong became an expectation. The Paffrath-to-Christensen connection, though, provided a welcome bonus.
"All these kids fought hard," Gustafson said. "Those two made just one heck of a heads-up play."