|King posing with their state title trophy.|
"I saw the corner telling the safety to get on top, but he wasn't listening to him," Corley said, describing the final play of the game. "I was one-on-one, and I knew Posey was going to make the right throw, and I caught it. I'm not surprised that they covered me one-on-one. They probably thought their corner was good. I guess not.
"It was beautiful ball; it couldn't get any better. It was just inbounds, in the back of the end zone. I knew where I was on the field, and I couldn't believe. It was amazing how we fought back down 17-0, and we won."
Lowell (12-2) gave King all that it could handle early on in the game, jumping out to a 17-0 lead, and going into the half up 24-13, in front of a stunned crowd. Sure, King had all the Division I college athletes, athleticism, and speed, but Lowell played like the better team. They owned the line of scrimmage in the run game, which opened up the passing game for Lowell, who was able to uses passes of 62, and 66 yards, to set up short scoring runs by quarterback, Ryan Stevens, and running back Max Dean. King's offense came on late in the half, after stalling on its first couple of drives, but if they wanted to get back in the game, the defense would have to step it up. King's defense gave up exactly 400 yards total offense, and 186 yards in the air, something they have not done all season.
"Well, I think they kept us off balance with the things they were doing," King head coach Dale Harvel said. "I give Lowell credit. They did a great job today, but my kids just kept fighting. They refused to get put away. We had a couple of stops when we needed them, but we didn't stop them consistently when we needed to. They held the ball on us, and ran their game plan to a tee."
King's defense continued to allow Lowell to score, but its offense caught fire, and was able to keep the game close, and within striking distance. The two teams had a heavyweight in the third, exchanging blows on offense. The Red Arrows took a 38-26 lead with 7:10 to go, on a 2-yard touchdown run by Stevens, but King quickly responded minutes later, when quarterback Armani Posey scrambled around, before finding LaVert Hill wide open in the back of the end zone from two yards out to pull within four, at 38-34, with 4:42 remaining in the game.
Lowell used up most of the remaining time on the clock, using their strong running game, and some help from King, who was called for a crucial offsides penalty on 3rd and three, that gave Lowell the first down. Lowell used a play where they shifted their entire line, forcing King to be confused, and jump offsides. They used the same play twice in the game. King had a whopping 15 penalties in the game for 73 yards, which obviously hurt them at times during the game. Lowell had three for 35 yards.
"We stressed all week what this was going to be about," Harvel said. " It's mental. The mental mistakes killed us. We came out of a timeout telling the kids they were going to shuffle, and we still jumped. That's mental."
Corley's catch won the game for King, but if it were not for Posey's poise under center, they would not be able to call themselves state champions. He passed for a state record 383 yards, on 19-27 passing and five touchdowns. King got the ball back with only 37 seconds left on the clock, and the ball in Posey's right hand, trying to go 97 yards for the win.
First play: False start.
Second play: Posey completes a 22-yard pass to Hill who goes out of bounds at the King 25-yard line.
Third play: Posey and Corley hook-up for a short pass to the King 35.
Fourth play: Posey completes a 25-yard to Dontre Boyd, who pays the price on a big hit, but gives King great field position at the Lowell 40, with just 10 seconds left in the game, down four.
Fifth play: Posey has his pass deep the field go incomplete to Ambry Thomas, which was probably a good thing, as the clock more than likely would have ran out with zero timeouts left.
Sixth play: With two seconds on the clock, Posey looks to his left, and heaves up a 40-yard bomb towards Corley, who leaped over his man with his 6-3 frame, coming down inbounds for the game-winner, leaving both sides stunned.
"With 38 seconds, I thought to myself, 'there was still plenty enough time in the ball game'", Posey said. "We got the ball in our playmakers hands, and they made the plays. Dontre's catch put us in the field position where we needed to be to win, and without him and that catch, we don't win the state championship."
"To me, that was the biggest play of the game," Corley added.
Posey also set a state record for passing in the game, after originally starting the year off at linebacker, but taking over the starting quarterback job in week three.
For King, the win over Lowell caps off dramatic season for them, where they were ridiculed for having transfers from other schools, ranked as the No.1 team in the state, involved in a brawl with Detroit Cody that almost cost them their perfect season, and a city title. The way they won really sums up how their season had gone all year, and now they can finally say that it was all worth it.
"It feels good to finish this season off with a state title, after all we had been through this year off the field," Harvel said. "These kids never stopped fighting, no matter what adversity they were faced with, and now they will forever be remembered at King."