One bloody nose, two touchdowns and a round of "Happy Birthday" later, the Badin Bullfrogs found themselves victorious over the Pasquerilla East Pyros 13-6.
On the same night of Badin freshman Lizzie Shappell's birthday, Badin quarterback Steph Heath temporarily left the game with a bloody nose after colliding with a Pasquerilla East player.
Teammates watched with concern as they watched Heath recover from the accident and were at first unsure as to whether she would return to the game. Their qualms vanished when she returned to the game later in the second half.
The eventful game began with a number of key Badin defensive plays, including a sack by Rita Morgan. A short punt by the Pyros part gave Badin good field positioning and ultimately a touchdown pass from Heath to Jenn Carter. The Bullfrogs got the extra point after alternate quarterback Erin Zachry completed a successful pass to Mariah Marsh to put Badin ahead 7-0.
Badin coach Anthony Pilcher praised his players for the early touchdown.
"We played very well, but we were more laid back in the second half," he said. "We just need to have more consistency on offense and some big plays on defense."
The Bullfrogs slowly began their offensive drive in the second half with Shappell running for 10 yards to put the Bullfrogs at first and goal. However, Badin failed to capitalize on the opportunity for a touchdown. On fourth and inches, Zachry was sacked.
The Bullfrogs countered the Pyros' defensive advances with some of their own. Sophomore Laura Feeney blocked a Pyros pass, eventually forcing a punt. The Pyros punt was short, and gave way to a quick Bullfrog touchdown by running back Megan Charlebois. Badin failed to convert for two points following the touchdown.
With about two minutes remaining in the game, the Pyros still looked for an opportunity to score. Long passes from Pyros quarterback Katherine Lent to sophomore Leslie Follmer and freshman Rachael Maricich made the opportunity to score more attainable.
Pasquerilla East accomplished its pre-game goal to finish the season on a high note when Marcich scored the final touchdown of the game. The Pyros, however, failed to convert on a two-point attempt following the touchdown.
"We haven't been doing well, so we just wanted to go out there and have fun," Marcich said. "We decided we needed a touchdown."
On the contrary, the Bullfrogs viewed Thursday's game as an opportunity for experimentation and practice.
"We tried a few different plays we don't normally do," Feeney said. "Today was all about getting ready for the playoffs."
Lyons 13, McGlinn 12
For a game that was supposed to answer the all-important playoff question, Thursday's even matchup between Lyons and McGlinn fell short of its mission.
After losing to McGlinn the first game of the season, Lyons redeemed itself by coming out with the 13-12 win last night, thus tying McGlinn for their 3-3 record and for third place in the Gold League.
"It's a great feeling," Lyons senior Allison Shenk said. "We really needed this win."
Lyons came into the final regular season matchup down by one game and needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt. By escaping with its one-point victory, Lyons extends its winning streak to 3-0 and anxiously awaits the outcome of the tiebreaker.
"We've finally found our offensive rhythm," Lyons coach Andy Kowieski said. "Hopefully we can keep it going if we make the playoffs."
McGlinn began the game strong with On-Kay Wong making a 40-yard run after a double reverse to score on the Shamrock's first possession.
"Usually it takes us a long time to get into the swing of things but today we just stepped right up," Meacham said.
The Shamrocks caught the extra point but it was called back due to offensive pass interference. Then, late in the first half, Shenk, one of Lyons' key receivers, beat the last defender and caught quarterback Roxie Trevino's 30-yard pass in the end zone.
The two Lions connected moments later for the extra point, putting Lyons ahead 7-6 at halftime.
Meacham began McGlinn's second-half drive with a remarkable 40-yard run into Lyons territory.
After key plays by running back Raquel Ferrer and receiver Liz Maher, Wong caught a slant and ran it into the end zone.
McGlinn's defense struggled, however, and gave up several critical first downs late in the game.
Erin Brattoli made a huge catch out of the backfield on third and seven, giving Lyons a first down and the needed momentum. Lyons worked their way down the field with 20-yard passes to Shenk and fellow receiver Megan Regan.
Regan's height and athleticism gave her an advantage as she grabbed the final touchdown pass out of the air above McGlinn defenders' outstretched arms.
Her 15-yard penalty for spiking the ball hindered Lyons' attempts at an extra point, but a strong defensive showing for McGlinn's final drive preserved Lyons' win.
The teams know there's nothing more for them to do and are hoping to receive an answer from RecSports Friday.
"If we get the tie breaker, I feel we can make a serious run in the playoffs," Kowieski said.