They walked from the sideline to the locker room in relative silence.
Coaches stopped to hug players as others tried desperately to hold back tears.
This was not the ending the Bishop Kelly High football team is accustomed to.
For the first time in 20 games, the Knights tasted defeat, falling to Skyline 50-49 in the 4A state championship Saturday at Albertsons Stadium and ending a bid for BK’s fourth consecutive title.
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“They made one more play than we made,” Bishop Kelly coach Tim Brennan said. “But I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. I love these guys. They’re great young men, and they are going to go on to do great things in life.
“This is a learning thing. The sun’s going to come up tomorrow.”
It was going to take a monumental effort to upend the three-time defending state champions, and that is precisely what the Grizzlies (12-0) delivered.
Senior receiver Carson Lott caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Bridger Taylor with 19 seconds remaining, cutting Bishop Kelly’s lead to 49-48.
Lott then caught a two-point conversion pass from senior David Ames III for the winning one-point margin.
50 The most points allowed by a Bishop Kelly team since 1999.
“I actually called the play. I was like, ‘What about jump-pass?’ ” Ames III said. “It was surprising, because I hate that play. I’m not a very good thrower, but I knew Lott would go get it, because he’s got the best hands in the state.”
Ames III’s pass looked more like a hook shot, but Lott wasn’t worried about the delivery.
“I hurt my ankle on the touchdown the play before, so I was like, ‘I need a break.’ Tears were coming down my face,” Lott said. “But coach said, ‘No, you’re catching this ball.’ ”
Bishop Kelly (11-1) entered with the classification’s No. 1 defense, allowing an average of 11.5 points per game. Skyline’s 50 points are the most allowed by a BK team since 1999.
Lott finished with three touchdowns and four total receptions for 153 yards, while Ames III also reached the end zone three times and led the Grizzlies in rushing with 145 yards.
Taylor completed 20-of-28 passes for 352 yards and four TDs without an interception.
“At the start of the year, we knew our offense would be deadly. We had all the guys coming back except for a couple linemen and a tight end,” Ames III said. “We were averaging like 46 points a game this year, and we just have too many playmakers on the field. The defense can’t stop that many.”
The Knights didn’t abandon hope after the Grizzlies’ late rally. Senior quarterback Bronson King completed four consecutive passes to drive the Knights down to the Skyline 34-yard line with 2 seconds on the clock.
But Vince Sengelmann’s 51-yard field-goal attempt missed as time expired.
When Sengelmann collapsed on the ground, his BK teammates were right there to help him back up.
“I’m sad that we lost the game, but the worst thing is it’s over,” Brennan said. “We don’t get to practice on Monday. It’s over, but we’re better people because of those relationships that we’ve made.”