Make Your Chances Count: Zachary advances to the Dome by overcoming 15-point deficit to defeat Dutchtown in overtime

Cover photo taken by Corey Perrillioux

You can call it a comeback or a miracle, it doesn’t matter to the Zachary High School football team as they advanced to the state championship for the fifth time in school history after Rafael Costa’s walk-off game-winning field goal in overtime to defeat Dutchtown 31-28 on Saturday afternoon.

The Broncos were down 28-13 on Friday night with 1:48 left to go in the third quarter. However, because of the lightning delays, the game was postponed to be played the next day at 3 p.m.

“I told the guys before we sent them home last night, ‘Listen, most of the time when you play bad in the playoffs, you’re turning in your stuff in the next day,” Brewerton said. “You usually don’t get a second chance.

Not only was it a second chance for the team as a whole, but Costa got to get a second chance as well. Before the end of regulation, Costa missed the game-winning 25-yard field goal.

On Friday night, Dutchtown was in deep control of the game and had all the momentum. The Griffins were powered by Carter Hanberry, who rushed for 78 yards and scored three of their four touchdowns. However, because of the lightning, the refs called the game with 1:48 left in the third quarter and decided it was best to postpone the game until tomorrow.

When the game resumed on Saturday afternoon, you could tell something was going to happen but you didn’t know what it was. It was a feeling of uncertainty, tension and unwavering hope.

Zachary, with nothing to lose, started to look like the program we have been accustomed to in the last 10 years as the Broncos scored two touchdowns in less than three minutes.

Zachary running back Kameron Thomas, who finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns, scored on a 35-yard run with 7:36 left to go in the game, which woke up the Zachary sideline. Wide receiver Tyson George converted the two-point conversion out of the Wildcat formation and the crowd was starting to loosen up.

On the next possession, Dutchtown hoped to put the game away and not let Zachary pull off another historic comeback. However, wide receiver Andrew Fields tried to make a diving catch from a throw from quarterback Ethan Aucoin but it bounced off his arms and landed into Zachary cornerback Jeremiah Smith’s hands. Smith raced 40 yards for a pick-six and tied the game with 4:35 left to go in the game.

Zachary’s defense would stop Dutchtown one last time. Unfortunately, Costa missed the potential game-winning field goal with one second left in regulation.

In overtime, Stetson Bell gave Costa a chance to redeem himself when he blocked Dutchtown kicker Michael Matherne’s 32-yard field goal on the first overtime possession.

Before Costa’s second chance at winning the game for the Broncos, Brewerton thought Costa looked a lot more confident in his second go-around.

“He (Costa) has made thousands of those in practice and I told him it is what it is and we’ve still got to have you win this,” Brewerton said.

Costa drilled the 25-yard kick and was soon mobbed by his teammates and you could see Costa crying tears of relief in that moment.

Zachary will take on No.1 seed Ruston in the LHSAA Division I (Non-Select) State Championship at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The Broncos will have a chance at winning their fifth title in the school’s history as well as its third in the last six seasons. All of Zachary’s state titles have been won under Brewerton.

Check out all the photos taken by Corey Perrillioux