The Boise High football team covered 95 yards in just over a minute to score the game-tying touchdown in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Then it took one swat from 6-foot-5, 290-pound Boise defensive tackle Valentino Daltoso’s left hand to pull off a 45-44 overtime victory against Borah on Friday night at Dona Larsen Park.
“(Borah) coach (Darren) Corpus said it best at the end, ‘It was one for the ages,’ ” Boise coach Bob Clark said. “It was a great job by both teams, and unfortunately somebody had to win and somebody had to lose. We’re ecstatic. It feels so great. Our kids have worked so hard and had a lot of adversity the first couple weeks, but they broke through.”
Senior Cal Gustavsen led the Braves’ game-tying drive in regulation. It was his first game back at quarterback after recovering from a shoulder injury.
On the the 10th play of the drive, Gustavsen hit senior receiver Noah Latimer with a 13-yard pass in the end zone, and kicker Sam Rucklos kept the nerves at bay, nailing the PAT to tie the game at 38-38 with 11 seconds left.
Borah couldn’t come up with a kick return for a score, sending the game into OT.
Boise got the ball first in overtime, and the Braves once again turned to Gustavsen, who scored on the third play of the drive from 2 yards out. Rucklos made another PAT for a 45-38 lead, and the rest was up to the Boise defense.
Borah immediately responded with a 10-yard TD pass on its first play of OT from quarterback Hayden Brown to senior Ryan Bartunek.
But when the Lions lined up for the game-tying PAT, Daltoso overpowered Borah’s line, knocking down the kick for the win.
“Honestly, I was just trying to knock the dude in front of me over,” Daltoso said. “I just put my hand up, and I guess it was a low kick and I got my hand on it.
“I couldn’t even explain (the moment). I just started running.”
Daltoso’s teammates joined him in the sprint to the Braves’ sideline as the crowd erupted.
“Unbelievable. It was very close,” Gustavsen said. “I thought we had it the whole time, but to walk away with it feels incredible.
“I’m tired. We’re all tired, and we wanted to walk away with it right there, so we did.”
Gustavsen completed 13-of-24 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns without an interception and added 58 yards on the ground with two more scores.
It was a disappointing night for Borah, which was trying to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1997. The Lions also lost running back Jace Forrey in the first half to a possible concussion.
The Lions appeared to have the game wrapped up when they scored on a 46-yard pass from quarterback Hayden Brown to junior receiver Mason Haley with 4:56 left in the game. The Lions forced the Braves to turn it over on downs on their next possession, and Borah got the ball back with 1:55 to play.
Boise’s defense forced a Borah three-and-out, setting up the game-tying drive.