Luke Carter’s right foot had been perfect on two attempts when his name was called to deliver the game-winning field goal with his Wilson Tigers locked in a 34-34 tie with North Myrtle Beach in double overtime.
The senior lined up from the right hash mark and boomed a perfect hold through the uprights from 11 yards out for the victory, completing a comeback from an early 21-7 deficit to send the Tigers past the Chiefs 37-34 to keep their 3A playoff hopes alive.
“We practice those so much in practice that I didn’t even think twice about it,” Carter said. “We’re a very resilient team. (Coach Chad Eaddy) tells us if a team punches us in the mouth to punch right back. As a team, I feel like we knew we could come back.”
Carter’s first field goal of the night gave the Tigers their first lead early in the second half. In the midst of a rally that included an 80-yard interception return by Jerron Lesane and a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback James Richardson, Carter connected on a 34-yard attempt to complete the comeback, putting Wilson ahead 24-21 with 8:39 to play in the third quarter.
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The Tigers improved their lead to 31-21 with an 18-yard touchdown run by Richardson three minutes later, but the tide shifted back to the Chiefs in the fourth. After cutting the deficit to three points on Kendrick Furness’s one-yard run with 6:31 remaining, NMB found itself with a chance to tie it up with time ticking away. Capping off a four minute drive that began at the NMB 25-yard line, Christian Buis converted a 29-yard field goal with five seconds to play, knotting it up at 34-34 to send the two region 7-3A rivals into overtime.
Carter put Wilson up by three with a 33-yard kick on the first possession of overtime, and Buis answered with a 22-yard shot of his own to keep the game alive.
On the Chiefs’ second overtime possession, however, Daleon James put the Tigers one step closer to victory with an interception of Furness just in front of the goal line. Wilson picked up five yards on three plays on the ensuing possession, setting up Carter’s game-winner.
“He’s been preparing for that kick for three years,” Eaddy said. “I remember he was a pudgy little kid that looked like a guard when he first walked in during my first year as head coach. He’s worked his tail off and it paid off big tonight.”