#1 Football Perfection Secured by Last Minute Victory

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#1 Football Perfection Secured by Last Minute Victory

Back on October 25, the 2013 Louisville Leopards Football Season was defined. The Leopards rallied from a first half deficit, overcame an injury to their NBC Player of the Year, and scored in the last minute to down the host Aviators 24-21.

Louisville faced an uphill battle from the start as Alliance returned the opening kickoff to the Leopards 32 Beatty's Sports White Hat Adand then scored on the next play. Quarterback Connor Zwick would lead Louisville back into the game with touchdown passes to Alex Hollifield and Bryce Mathie to tie the game at 7-7 and then later in the third quarter at 14-14.

Zwick looked to lead the Leopards on the go-ahead scoring drive when he took two hits that sidelined him for the remainder of the game. This marked the third consecutive year a Louisville Quarterback left the game against Alliance and did not return. In stepped the fearless Leopards Backup Quarterback Joe Crank to replace him. On his second snap he connected with Kyle Bast for a 41 yard gain to the Aviator 5. Then runningback Walter Schrock scored on the next play to put Louisville ahead 21-14.

Alliance tied the game back up at 21-21 with 9:23 remaining in the fourth quarter. After the two squads traded possessions, the Leopards Zach Shea recorded a sack on 3rd-and-5 forcing the Aviators to punt. Andy Minster returned the boot 25 yards to the Alliance 43. Then, in what proved to be the key play of the contest, Crank completed a 38 yard pass to Mathie to set Louisville up on the Alliance 5. Four plays later Kicker Jordan Hughes split the uprights on a 20 yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining.

The Aviators drove past midfield on their final possession, but Garrett Yoder’s interception on the 2 yard line iced the Leopards victory. The win clinched Louisville’s first playoff birth and NBC Championship since 2009. A week later at Canton South they would finish the regular season a perfect 10-0. Through an all-around selfless team effort, adversity was destroyed and the Leopard Tradition had been restored.

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