#4 Bradley Central trailed 28-7 at the half, but came back to defeat rival Cleveland in the final seconds, 37-35, on Friday night at Bear Stadium. The margin of victory was a field goal that .narrowly went through.
Senior soccer player Issac Vaughn, playing his first year of football, connected on a 26-yarder with seconds remaining on the clock.
That came after Bradley Central had scored in the closing minutes to make it 35-34. The Bears went for two points, but the Cleveland defense stopped quarterback Javin Burke. After forcing a Cleveland punt, the Bears quickly drove down the field for a Burke score.
The quarterback got the first touchdown of the second half, going up the middle and then down the left side as the margin was cut to 28-14 in what was looking like a surprising upset. That came after Bradley Central stopped Cleveland for the first time on an offense built around stout sophomore running back Tetoe Boyd.
A block of a punt by Lawson Dale gave the Bears more good field position and led to a TD that made it 28-21.
Dale, who has been perfect on extra point tries, missed a 41-yard field goal with nine minutes left. A Saylor Clark touchdown tied the game at 28 apiece.
Cleveland finally got its offense going, with Boyd sometimes carrying defenders along with him. He carried it the final two yards as the Blue Raiders again led, 35-28. Then Bradley Central had their heroics to close out the exciting game before a packed stadium.
Cleveland had roared out to the surprise halftime lead while amassing 289 yards of offense.
Kley McGowan went 65 yards on an end around to start the scoring for the Blue Raiders. Then Grayson Merkel, playing for the first time after an injury, went 28 yards up the middle to put Cleveland ahead 14-0.
The seeming rout continued as Robert Flowers had a 65-yard pass reception.
The Bears got on the board, catching Cleveland sleeping on a long pass play from Burke to Tray Curry. It went for 36 yards and was the junior's eighth TD of the season.
Boyd scored from eight yards out to finish off a quick Cleveland drive to push the lead to 21.