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Quarterback Kyle Frusti saves the day for Cougars with his legs in wild 44-42 finish over Carney-Nadeau

Superior Central quarterback Kyle Frusti, left, spins out of a tackle by Carney-Nadeau’s Brett LaFord on his way to the end zone for the game-tying touchdown from 20 yards out as time expired in their high school football game played Saturday. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Austin Hemmingson)

POWERS — They didn’t lead until it mattered most — when it was over.

Superior Central’s Kyle Frusti made an unusual, incredible play, rushing for a 20-yard touchdown on fourth down as time expired to tie the game.

Then the Cougars’ quarterback found Jack Rondeau on a 3-yard pass for the 2-point conversion to give SC a thrilling 44-42 comeback win over Carney-Nadeau in Powers on Saturday afternoon.

“That was unexpected,” Cougars coach Sam Eggleston admitted when asked about Frusti’s run. “When he took off, both the assistant coach and I — who happens to be his dad — both of us just said, ‘Crap, he doesn’t have the wheels for this.’ But apparently he has the arm length.

“My mind just started to kind of flutter, I really didn’t think he was going to get in. As he crossed the line, my heart just kind of seized up for a second and my brain started thinking what can we do to catch them off guard (on the two-point conversion), and we did.”

The entire final drive was a roller coaster ride. After Carney’s Brett LaFord broke free for a 57-yard TD run to give the Wolves a 42-36 lead with 3:34 left, controversy arose on the ensuing kickoff.

Carney attempted an onside kick, and LaFord dove to recover it along the sideline. After some discussion, the officials ruled LaFord touched the ball before it went 10 yards, giving the Cougars possession.

The Cougars (2-0), who scored on every one of their possessions in the second half after trailing 30-14 at the break, had to convert on 4th-and-6 on their first set of downs to begin the winning drive.

A few players later, Frusti scrambled around to buy time and eventually found Zach Englund deep downfield on a 33-yard connection to put the ball on the 1-yard line with 44 ticks left.

C-N (1-1) stood tall on the next three plays, starting with LaFord tackling Englund for a 6-yard loss. On second down, the Wolves sacked Frusti back at the 20.

The Cougars scrambled to the line and Frusti sailed a pass over Parker Maki in the end zone, setting up 4th-and-goal from the 20 with just five seconds left. Frusti took the snap and looked downfield, but when he didn’t see anyone open when he decided to take off.

“There was an open hole to my left and I was (counting) in my head,” Frusti said. “When I got to four, I just decided if we’re going to make anything out of this, I’m just going to have to do it with my feet. So, I tucked it and I just ran.”

That he did.

Frusti took off toward the left sideline, outrunning a couple Wolves to get to the 5, where he somehow managed to spin out of a tackle by LaFord and fight his way through a tackle attempt by Peyton Imhoff to stretch the ball across the goal line.

“I don’t entirely know (how I did that), I’ll have to see it on film,” Frusti said with a smile. “I saw two defenders there and then they made contact with me, and I just stretched and fell waist out over the line. It felt amazing.”

Frusti finished 21 of 37 for 340 yards and four TDs through the air. He also ran 13 times for 38 yards and two scores, having a hand in every Cougars’ TD.

Englund also was big, making seven receptions for 195 yards and three TDs. Rondeau added five catches for 54 yards and a score while also making an interception and a couple of 2-point conversion catches. Zach Bukowski also had an interception.

On Friday, the Cougars travel to Crystal Falls to play Forest Park.