Homecoming, two teams right in the thick of the playoff chase, and athletes galore - all of these factors created an expectation for a great football game.
There was no disappointment.
The Bellarmine Lions came from behind to edge the Lincoln Abes by a score of 27-26 Oct. 24 at Bellarmine Memorial Field.
"We overcame a lot of adversity and showed great maturity on that last drive and had to overcome a great performance by Jordan Russell. I'm proud of our team's effort tonight," said Lion's head coach Tom Larsen, in the midst of a jubilant Bellarmine locker room.
With the Lions leading, 7-6, late in the first quarter, they put together one of their trademark drives - 67 yards in 11 plays - that ended with a five-yard touchdown run by Kyle Able.
After a 27-yard field goal by Robert Guernsey, giving the Lions a 17-6 lead, Lincoln responded with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Shane Stagg to Quintin Brown, cutting the Bellarmine advantage to 17-12.
For most of the game the Bellarmine defense effectively slowed down Lincoln's super sophomore Jordan Russell, using a series of zone blitzes by their safeties and linebackers.
But early in the third quarter, Russell escaped their pressure and scored on 30-yard run to give Lincoln an 18-17 lead.
The Lions marched to the Abe eight-yard line, but their drive stalled, and Guernsey drilled a 25-yard field goal to give Bellarmine back the lead at 20-18.
Lincoln was equally resilient, as it came back with an eight-yard run by Stagg and a two-point conversion.
Facing a six-point deficit at 26-20 and just 1:22 left and 77 yards away from their goal line, the Lions came up with a drive that defines seasons.
Six plays later facing a second-and-goal from the nine, Nick Truckey took the draw handoff and sprinted nine yards up the middle for the touchdown, which along with Guernsey's point after gave the Lions the 27-26 win.
Bellarmine's playoff hopes remain alive while Lincoln's ended but not without a tremendous effort by the young Abes. With their final home game over, two Lion seniors, quarterback Luke Schindele and tailback Kyle Able, had a chance to reflect a little.
"We wanted to make our last game here at Memorial Field a special one and we did. We can't say enough about the way we executed our two-minute drive, something we practice every week," Schindele said.
"Mt. Tahoma will be tough," Able said. "And with the playoffs on the line it will take a great effort from next Thursday night." Here's the playoff scenario: Foss is in with a win at Olympia, out with a loss. The winner between Mt. Tahoma and Bellarmine game will either be the No. 4 or 5 seed. The loser will be out.