The Admirals punted the ball away with 2:49 to play and used their three timeouts trying to get it back. Three short gains left the Cougars with a fourth-and-one situation, and Holy Cross coach Ray Riedinger decided to gamble for the yard needed to put the game away.
Instead, the Admirals' defensive line stopped tailback Eric Titus, who led the Cougars in rushing with 167 yards on 22 carries, at the line and took over on downs with 55 seconds on the clock.
"They have some of the best running backs in the state, and we were determined not to let them get the first down," Mario Berry said. "We just sent everybody."
"I was a little surprised with their decision to go for it," Danville coach Sam Harp said. "I was prepared to send in our punt return team. They win the game if they make the first down because we were out of timeouts. Our defense did a great job to get us the ball back."
Hawkins, who connected on four of seven passing attempts for three touchdowns, used only two plays to reach paydirt. First, he hooked up with Mario Berry for 13 yards to the Holy Cross 16-yard line.
On the next play, Hawkins lofted a pass that only Teater, who also had a 39-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, could catch. He outjumped defender Cody Strange at the one and dove into the corner of the end zone for the touchdown to give the Ads the dramatic win.
Teater, who moved to tight end when the season began, was moved back to wide receiver when senior Phillip Dunn was unable to play after spraining his ankle last week against Carroll County.
"The play is called '37 goal line pass,' and Ronnie threw it to a spot to only I could catch it," Teater said. "We don't throw it much, but when we do throw it he has been accurate all year."
"He was outstanding again," the Danville coach said. "He put the ball right on the money and made it easy for our receivers to catch it. But that was also a great catch by Davis."
Who would have known that the game would ever come down to the last series of the game after the Ads' opening play? After forcing a punt on the Cougars' first series, Kelvin Turner found a gap in the middle of the Holy Cross defense and outran everyone for a 64-yard touchdown run. Zach Hampton tacked on the extra point to give Danville a 7-0 advantage less than two minutes into the contest.
Holy Cross countered the touchdown with a 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive of its own. Runs of 37 and 10 yards from Titus plus 11 more from Marell Booker helped place the ball at the Ads' 10-yard line and Nail found his leading receiver, Matt Mitchell, over the middle with three defenders around him for the touchdown. Andrew Strange added the conversion to knot the score at 7-7.
Danville regained the lead at 14-7 late in the first quarter when Hawkins found Teater wide open over the middle for a 39-yard score.
Fumbles plagued the Ads in period two. They fumbled twice and lost one on the opening play of the second period when Nick Rodman recovered a Turner fumble at the Danville 45. Booker scored on a 9-yard run five plays later and the half ended tied at 14.
Charles Penix gave the Ads the lead with three minutes to play in the third quarter with a 54-yard pass from Hawkins.
Danville was driving again as the fourth period began, only to fumble again and Jake Nail recovered for the Cougars at the Danville 34.
Seven plays later, Titus found Arron Troutman open in the end zone on a halfback pass for a 25-yard scoring strike to pull Holy Cross within one at 21-20.
After a Danville offsides penalty, Holy Cross elected to go for two and was successful when Todd Crumbacker ran it in for a 22-21 lead.
That set the stage for the wild finish and gives the Ads a chance to avenge last year's playoff loss to Mayfield at Admiral Stadium.