LIVE OAK, Fla. — With the game on the line, Kyler Hall couldn’t stand to watch.
Suwannee’s coach didn’t watch his freshman kicker Braxtyn Green knock an 18-yard field goal through the uprights with 16 seconds left.
And he also didn’t watch his defense bat down a Hail Mary in the end zone on an untimed down to secure the Bulldogs’ 39-36 win against Godby at Langford Stadium on Friday night.
“I couldn’t watch,” Hall said after the thriller. “On that kick, I was down here watching the band. And on this play, I was watching coach (Justin) Bruce, our baseball coach.
“I couldn’t watch it. I was sick. I just let the crowd tell me.”
Suwannee’s defense, which struggled to slow the Cougars’ run game for most of the game, came up big when the Bulldogs (5-4, 1-2 in District 2-5A) needed it.
After Godby, which fell to 4-6 and 1-2 in the district, drove into Suwannee territory behind the strength of that rushing attack that churned out 262 yards on 39 carries, the Bulldogs capitalized when the Cougars turned to the air.
Under pressure on a second-and-17, Godby’s Trey Fisher threw a ball up for grabs and Suwannee’s Jaquez Moore picked it off and returned it to midfield with 3:36 remaining in a 36-all game.
Hall wasn’t surprised at all to see his junior star rise to the occasion.
“What’s funny about Jaquez and this goes back to last year…I told him, ‘I know you’re a playmaker, you think you’re a playmaker, I need you to make a big play,’” he said. “Before that drive I said, ‘Hey, I need you to make that play.’
“I’m telling you he has a knack for it.”
From there, Suwannee turned to its own high-powered ground game — 306 yards on 44 attempts — and also took advantage of a couple Godby penalties to milk off most of that time.
A two-yard run from quarterback Tyree Taylor on a sneak on third-and-3 set up Green’s game-winner.
“I’m just thinking, ‘Don’t think about it. It’s an extra point,’” Green said of the kick. “Just relax and kick it. I work on it in practice every day, it’s just an extra point.
“I’ve been kicking pregame, at practice, at halftime for eight years and it was all for that. It was better than I thought it would be.”
Added Taylor, the holder: “I just didn’t want to drop the snap. He’s always been kicking good at practice, so I trust him.”
But Suwannee wasn’t completely out of the woods yet.
A roughing the passer call as time expired gave the Cougars one extra play and a chance at a game-tying 47-yard field goal try from Michael Hernandez.
But after a delay of game penalty, the Cougars instead tried the Hail Mary which fell incomplete.
“We knew the kind of team Godby is,” Hall said. “But I knew our best, we could beat them. And that’s with anybody.
“We put a full game together. We didn’t do everything perfect, but guys responded…It was a complete team effort.
“It was an unbelievable night.”
The late drama followed a back-and-forth affair that saw neither team lead by more than one score.
Godby led 28-21 at halftime behind a pair of scoring runs from Jaquez Yant, who had a game-high 133 yards on 12 carries, and touchdown passes from Fisher of 17 yards to Khalid Amir-rashad and 26 yards to Avery Boyd.
The Cougars then recovered an onside kick to open the second half, but Suwannee’s defense stiffened and forced a three-and-out after allowing 238 yards in the first half.
That allowed the Bulldogs to seize a 29-28 lead midway through the third when Taylor scored his third touchdown of the night from 6 yards out and then added a two-point conversion run. He scored on runs of 7 and 20 yards in the first half as he finished with 97 yards on 21 runs, while Moore added a 55-yard scoring run as he gained 98 yards on eight carries and added a big kickoff return to set up Suwannee’s second score and also caught two passes for 27 yards.
Another stop led to a 24-yard touchdown run from DeMarius Thompson, who finished with a team-high 108 yards, and a 36-28 lead late in the quarter.
But the Cougars tied it a minute into fourth when Boyd hauled in a 35-yard scoring pass and then Yant tied it with a conversion run to set up the frantic finish.
Suwannee will travel to Dublin, Ga., to face the Fighting Irish to close out the regular season. Dublin, the top-ranked team in Georgia's Class 2A, is 8-0.