Garnett Eudora High senior Brendan Jackson had been through too many heartbreaking football losses to let another game slip through his hands Tuesday night.
So the EHS fullback put his teammates on his back when he plunged into the end zone from two yards out in the closing minute of the Cardinals' Class 4A bi-district playoff game at Anderson County.
The touchdown rallied Eudora to a 34-30 victory in a game EHS dominated in every phase but the third quarter.
"This means everything for us seniors who have been so close," Jackson said. "We couldn't give this game away."
But the Cardinals (7-3) -- who next will play Coffeyville, a 14-6 winner over Chanute, on Saturday in Eudora -- nearly did.
After EHS established a 20-10 halftime lead, Anderson County (6-4) scored 20 unanswered points to take a 30-20 advantage with nine minutes to go.
"This school has kind of been prone to heartbreaking losses in all sports," EHS coach Gregg Webb said.
Not this time.
Eudora's Luke Abel took a toss left with 4:41 to play and scored his fourth touchdown of the game from nine yards out. William Bock's extra point cut the Cardinals' deficit to 30-27.
Anderson County's Jake Cover -- who had three touchdowns, including a 73-yard fumble return and 60-yard run -- returned the ensuing kickoff 33 yards.
But Eudora still had all three timeouts and, more importantly, a defense that could make one last stand.
The Cards threw the Bulldogs for losses on all three plays and forced Anderson County to punt with 3:17 left.
Eudora took over on its own 36, but, as had been the case all night, Abel was more than willing to step into the spotlight.
The junior running back, who finished with 198 rushing yards on 25 carries, broke his second 31-yard gain to take the Cardinals into Bulldog territory.
"For a lot of us, we can remember the days when guys like Andrew Pyle and company got this whole thing started," Abel said. "So we wanted to not only win for the seniors and everybody in the program, but the guys who also helped establish it."
Jackson followed Abel's big gain with a seven-yard run. A run by James Mills, quick pass from EHS quarterback Kyle Broughard and another gain by Jackson set up Eudora with a first-and-goal from the two with :53 left.
Jackson easily leaned in over the line for the win.
"This feels so, so great, but we're not done yet," he said.