Even though they've only played varsity football for four seasons now, those seasons have been sprinkled with a number of memorable plays for the Cave City Cavemen.
But this one automatically moves to the head of the class.
Trailing the Rivercrest Colts 14-13 in a battle of 3-3A unbeatens, Cave City quarterback Dalton Carpenter hit wingback Tyler Engleman with a 19-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left in the game, giving the Cavemen their most important victory in team history.
That 19-14 win Oct. 16 on the muddy, rain-soaked turf at Caveman Stadium, propelled Cave City to the top of the 3-3A Conference rankings with a spotless 4-0 mark, 7-0 overall. The Colts fell to 3-1 in the conference, 5-2 overall with the loss to Cave City.
Engleman's game-winning touchdown on third-and-7, with the Cavemen out of timeouts and needing a score to pull even with Rivercrest, capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ate up most of the game's last five minutes.
The game-winning march was kept alive by a 16-yard pass from Carpenter to Jeremy Johnson on fourth down that moved the chains for Cave City.
After he threw the winning pass to Engleman, Carpenter also came up huge on defense, picking off Rivercrest quarterback Doimone Brown to seal the deal for Cave City.
Entering the home clash with Rivercrest, Cave City's defense had been nothing short of spectacular, with the Cavemen giving up just a shade over a meager four points per game through the first six weeks of the 2009 season.
And although the Colts marked a step up, competition-wise, for Cave City, the defense did not flinch and held the very speedy and always-dangerous Rivercrest club to under 120 yards of total offense for the game.
Just to prove how capable they are of scoring at will, the Colts did so early in the game.
Rivercrest held Cave City on downs on the first series of the evening, forcing the Cavemen to punt. Rivercrest's Jarrett Brown grabbed the short punt from his down lineman position and rambled 35 yards for a touchdown at the 9:36 mark of the first quarter. Trevor Gregory kicked the PAT and Rivercrest led 7-0.
With the Colts still in control of that 7-0 lead, Cave City fumbled the ball away a couple of times late in the first and early in the second quarter, before the defense made a big play.
Rivercrest coughed up the football in the mud pit that was the middle of the field and William Boyd scooped it up and ran it back to the 35-yard line. That sat up the first of Engleman's three TDs in the game, this one on fourth-and-goal from the 1/2-yard line with 5:30 left until the half. Boyd's extra-point locked the contest at 7-all. Engleman racked up 96 yards rushing in the game, pushing him well over the 1,000-yard barrier for the season.
Rivercrest managed to answer Cave City's score with a 9-yard touchdown run from Terrance Banks with 3:46 left until the break. Gregory's PAT boosted the Colts to a 14-7 lead at the half.
Cave City came out of the locker room at the half and forced the Colts to punt on their first series of the third quarter, setting up the Cavemen's second TD of the game.
Carpenter (five-for-10, 58 yards passing) hit Kody White with a nice 20-yard pass that kept Cave City moving down field after the Rivercrest punt. Tyler Poulette (72 yards rushing) added some hard-earned yards on the drive and Engleman finished things off with a 2-yard run on second-and-goal for Cave City. The 2-point conversion was stopped, allowing the Colts to take a 14-13 advantage to the final frame.
And late in the final frame, with time running out and no way left to stop the clock, Carpenter found Engleman in the end zone for a 19-yard game-winning pass that will certainly go down in Cave City football lore.
While in excellent shape for a spot in the Class 3A playoffs, the Cavemen still have their sights locked on a conference championship with games against Harrisburg (6-1, 3-1), Hoxie (4-3, 3-1) and Earle (6-1, 3-1) still left on the schedule.