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Durant goes OT to dodge upset

After fumbling the ball in the second overtime, Durant knew it was over. Many players hung their heads on the sideline, a few rubbed away angry tears.

Then, something either horrible or elating happened, depending which side you were on. Riverview missed a 22-yard field goal on the next possession, giving the wide-eyed Cougars a chance for a deep breath.

In the third overtime, Riverview stood poised to score at third andgoal when Durant's Greg Clark intercepted quarterback Chris Alexander. Two plays later, Durant fullback Sean Zentmeyer scored, barely wedging himself five yards through a tangle of Sharks and reaching the ball into the end zone.

The Cougars defeated the Sharks 23-17.

"Man, I don't know how I feel right now," Zentmeyer said. "I feel so happy.

"I thought for sure they were going to make that field goal in the end. I'm so glad we got a second chance."

Despite little offensive production (122 total yards in regulation), Durant seemed in control from the start, when Clark _ the Clark who had the overtime interception _ returned the opening kickoff 90 yards to score.

For the next three-and-a-half quarters, all either side managed was a field goal each. At that pace, the Cougars (8-1, 5-1) were somewhat comfortable with two minutes to go and a seven-point lead.

In two plays, that comfort disappeared. From the Sharks 20, Riverview's Alexander picked up 29 yards on a sneak and running back Tyrone McKenzie (19 carries, 130 yards) took care of the rest with a 51-yard touchdown run.

Tied at 10, the Sharks and Cougars played with desperate intensity _ the Sharks (4-4, 3-3) because they were playing for a home crowd and had never been beaten by Durant, the Cougars because a victory would guarantee a Class 5A, District 7 title.

Riverview kicked off the overtime showdown with a 1-yard touchdown by Alexander. Durant had to make up for lost yardage and the disappointment of a recalled touchdown run from Cecil Coltrane when Durant was flagged for holding. The Cougars redeemed themselves when tight end Chris Thompson caught an 18-yard touchdown from quarterback Chip Bowden.

Mistakes on both sides _ Durant's fumble and Riverview's missed field goal _ made the second overtime moot.

When the Sharks failed to score in the third, Durant coach Mike Gottman knew the Cougars would pull through.

"I tell you what, when that field goal went wide, I knew we had a second life," he said. "My body is shaking right now."