CLEARWATER — Countryside put the ball in Ryan Dailey's hands with the game hanging in the balance. Dailey, a backup quarterback, entered the game with the Cougars trailing 21-19 in the final minutes of the third quarter.
Dailey thrived in the situation, using a combination of quick reads, pinpoint accuracy and grace under fire to lead a seven-play, 57-yard drive that stalled at Jesuit's 23-yard line.
Countryside coach John Davis then called on kicker William Griswold, who booted a 43-yard field goal with 23 seconds left to put the Cougars ahead 22-21.
The lead held up through the fourth quarter while the junior varsity teams played.
"Dailey looked sharp and threw the ball well," Davis said. "And it was good to give Griswold a chance at his first game-winning kick in a situation like that."
The comeback overshadowed a wild Tigers' passing attack, in which they scored on wild throws and had another bizarre one that led to a touchdown.
The first came on a 49-yard bomb from Bobby Eveld to Will Schafer, who leaped between four defenders for the catch. The second came on fourth and 27 when Eveld scrambled out of the pocket and threaded a pass to Ben Gutowski for a 41-yard touchdown.
But the wildest came late in the third quarter. Jesuit quarterback Patton Chillura threw a pass down the right sideline that was nearly intercepted. After a Countryside defender bobbled it, the ball fell into the hands of receiver Travis Johnson who raced 66 yards down to the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Chillura found Evan Young on a 5-yard pass for a score.
Cougars running back Alton Taylor, who finished with 134 yards rushing, scored on a 5-yard run and Jimbo Chmelik hit Andre Goodwin on a 40-yarder for Countryside's other score.