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Football: Sunlake 22, Ocala Vanguard 21

OCALA — Having just watched his team drive 98 yards in less than three minutes to cut Ocala Vanguard's lead to a point with 6:02 remaining in the fourth quarter Friday, Sunlake assistant coach Brandon Browning asked his dad, head coach Bill Browning, a simple question.

"Did you come here to win or tie?" the younger Browning queried into the mouthpiece of his headset.

From there the answer was simple, made even simpler when the Knights jumped offside, cutting the distance to go in half. Seconds later 230-pound running back Jerome Samuels plunged into the end zone from a yard out to give the Seahawks their final margin of a 22-21 victory.

The win came in the first playoff game in school history and puts Sunlake (10-1) into the Class 6A, Region 2 semifinals.

Browning's call might be talked about for a long time.

"It was one of those decisions where you could be a hero or the biggest jerk in the world," he said.

Behind Florida State commitment P.J. Williams (15 carries for 147 yards with a rushing and return touchdown), the Knights led most of the game and were on their way to taking a 28-14 lead with fewer than nine minutes to play.

That's when the Seahawks played perhaps their best defense of the season.

After Kyle Sandner was tackled just shy of the goal line on second down, Vanguard had two tries to get into the end zone. However, Sandner (14 carries for 96 yards, one touchdown) was stopped for no gain then dropped for a loss.

From there, Cameron Stoltz (9-of-15 for 157 yards, two touchdowns) led an eight-play, 98-yard drive culminated when he dove in from a yard out, setting up the two-point conversion.

After each team punted, Vanguard got the ball back on the Seahawks' 42 with less than 20 seconds to play.

After a 15-yard completion from Cody Miller to Williams, senior Lee Brown attempted a 44-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining.

The kick had the distance but sailed slightly wide left.

"It's a shame it came down to that, but give (the Seahawks) credit," Vanguard coach Alex Castaneda said. "They went (98) yards and then went for two and got it. That's tough to do and they did it."

Football: Sunlake 22, Ocala Vanguard 21 11/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 25, 2011 8:16pm]

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