TAMPA — Hillsborough tailback Lindsey Lamar said that on a scale from 1 to 10, the pain in his left ankle, which he turned in the second quarter Friday night against Jefferson, was about an "8." His effort after taking a handoff from quarterback Tarean Austin midway through the fourth quarter was a 10.
"I had to get to the end zone," Lamar said. "I had to."
With a juke here, a jive there and one impressive sprint, Lamar scored on a 35-yard run with 5:56 left, which proved to be the winner in Hillsborough's dramatic 30-23 victory at Jefferson.
"I gave it all I had," said Lamar, who finished with 147 yards and two scores on 10 carries.
He wasn't alone.
While the game at Plant got all the hype, media publicity and an ESPNU audience, Hillsborough (1-0) and Jefferson (0-1) did what they seem to do quite often: produce a classic. In a game that really did have it all, it wasn't over until a pass by Jefferson quarterback Quentin Williams, who in his first varsity start was sensational, fell incomplete inside the Terriers 10 with eight seconds left.
"This was the best $5 value in town," Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said.
Behind Williams, who passed for 229 yards and a touchdown while running for another, Jefferson rallied from a 23-9 second-half hole. Williams' keeper and his subsequent 2-point conversion run with 9:40 left tied it, but Hillsborough responded with a nine-play, 77-yard drive, capped by Lamar's score.
Lamar, who scored on an 86-yard carry in the first quarter, had the bulk of Hillsborough's offense, but Austin, who completed a 25-yard scoring strike to Charles Lovett in the third quarter, came up big as well. Same for Colby Walden, who scored on an electric 95-yard first-half kickoff return.
Jefferson also got great production from running backs Terence Doston (127 yards) and Mark Winters (111 yards).
"I can't stand moral victories," Dragons coach Mike Fenton said. "But I don't think anyone in the nation thought we had a chance to beat Hillsborough. Our guys played a heck of a game."