CHARLESTON — Five decades from now, when Mason Keener is sipping a glass of sweet tea and playing with his grandkids, he'll tell them a story about one Friday night in Charleston, Ark.
You had to be there to believe it.
Down to their final snap, Charleston coach Greg Kendrick called on a play the Tigers work on every Thursday afternoon.
Friday, it was a winner.
Keener, the fourth player to touch the ball on what started out as a fourth-and-four from the Ozark 38 with 0:04 left, pitched the ball to a speeding Kaleb Fisher, who sprinted the final 8 yards to paydirt as stunned Hillbillies lay on the turf at Alumni Field.
"Every Thursday, we practice that play," Keener said.
"That's something we've worked on for six years," Kendrick said. "We work it every Thursday, but it's the first time we've ever run it in a game. You never think it's going to work until it works."
Caudle, who passed for 272 yards, started the game's final play by throwing a dart to Keener. He ran to the Ozark 15, and with Ozark defenders converging, pitched the ball backward toward Geoffrey Scott.
Scott eluded a tackler and somehow found Caudle who, after spying Keener, threw the ball across the field to Keener.
At this point, it became a 3-on-1 fastbreak, with Keener pitching the ball to Fisher for the walk-off win.
"It's a blessing from God," Keener said. "We were struggling that whole game. They're (Ozark) a darn good football team."
Ozark (1-2) had seemingly put the game out of reach by driving to the Charleston one-foot line.
But the Hillbillies were stuffed on fourth-and-goal. Starting from their 2, with 1:51 left, Caudle began working the ball down court.
Keener caught passes of 16 and 10 yards, respectively, as Charleston moved toward midfield.
Then, just before time expired, the Tigers' bizarre play.
"Me personally, I was sick to my stomach the whole game, even though there's nothing wrong with me," Keener said. "We run that play in practice every Thursday."
"Hats off to Charleston; they out-coached us and outplayed us," Ozark coach Jeremie Burns said. "We were not ready to play."
After a quick first quarter, which included Charleston forcing Ozark to go three-and-out on its initial possession to start the game, the teams combined for three touchdowns in a span of 2½ minutes.
Shane Turner, an unlikely candidate for a long touchdown reception, started the scoring spree by catching a short pass over the middle for a 63-yard touchdown pass. Turner, who wears No. 52 on defense, and the No. 42 jersey on offense, was virtually uncovered as he scooted down the middle of the field for an easy touchdown.
Ozark didn't take long to answer, though. Quarterback Dawson Dietz hit Bryant Burns with a drag route over the middle for a 51-yard scoring toss. Will Timmerman's PAT tied the game at 7.
But Charleston answered on the ensuing kickoff as Scott caught the kickoff on the fly and outraced the coverage for a 78-yard TD. Josh Taggert's PAT gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead.
Two series later, after Charleston recovered a fumble, failed to convert, then punted to the Hillbilly 10, Ozark went back to work.
Facing second-and-10, Dietz called Burns' number, and the big junior tight end didn't disappoint.
He rumbled 90 yards in all for a touchdown to pull Ozark within one.
But Timmerman missed the PAT. And, after Ozark forced a three-and-out, and began churning out yards behind Tyler Sanders, Timmerman missed a 25-yard field goal with 1:24 to play in the half.