Down to the final play of the game, Southridge quarterback Grant Lathim didn't panic.
Making his first career start, the Suns senior had 5 seconds left in the game, trailing 7-3 and the ball at his own 34-yard line.
Lathim avoided a pair of Richland defenders and lobbed a pass toward the end zone.
Junior wide receiver Brenden Kelly climbed the ladder, grabbed the ball, and split a pair of Richland defenders to score an improbable touchdown for a 9-7 win, setting off a wild scene at Lampson Stadium in both teams' openers Friday.
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"Brenden Kelly made an amazing catch," Lathim said. "I tried not to get too high, or too low, just stay in the middle. I was nervous the last drive ... but Brenden Kelly gets it done."
Southridge took over the ball at its own 18-yard line with 1:52 left in the game trailing 7-3. Lathim led the Suns on a 10-play drive to win the game.
He was 5-for-6 on the final drive, including connecting with Clay Gonzales on a 18-yard fourth-down play. Gonzales got drilled after making the catch, laying on the turf for several minutes -- but he hung onto the ball to extend the drive.
Two plays later, Lathim hit a streaking Kelly down the right sideline for a 34-yard gain, but after a fumbled snap it appeared as if Richland would hang on for a victory in the defensive slugfest.
But Lathim and Kelly connected to cap a magical night in the Mid-Columbia Conference opener for both teams.
After two-and-a-half quarters of no offense, Southridge got on the board first on a Conner Mertens 37-yard field midway through the third quarter to take a 3-0 lead.
As the Suns defense continued to give the Bombers fits, Southridge appeared to ice the game early in the fourth quarter going on an 18-play drive that took more than 8 minutes off the clock.
But as the Suns faced a third-and-10 from the 13, Bennett Peterson jumped a rout and intercepted Lathim, returning it 87 yards for a touchdown and what appeared to be the game-winner.
But Lathim rebounded and made sure this night will go down in the pantheon of Southridge football.
Lathim was 13-for-27 for 167 yards with the lone touchdown, while Kelly had nine receptions for 125 yards.
Richland 0 0 0 7 -- 7
Southridge 0 0 3 6 -- 9
Southridge -- Conner Mertens 37 FG, 7:28
Richland -- Bennett Peterson 87 INT return, 5:21
Southridge -- Brenden Kelly 34 pass from Grant Walthim, :00
Richland, Mason Baird 10-28, Cam Simpson 6-13, Zach Whitby 5-2, Josh Phillips 2-(-2), team 1-(-9). Southridge, Kadin Diaz 26-96, Walthim 16-24, Chewy Espinoza 4-19.
Richland, Whitby 8-21-0--61. Southridge, Walthim 13-27-2--167
Richland, Sheldon Liikala 3-19, David Crawford 2-12, Baird 1-15, Keith Kneblik 1-8, Deric Samples 1-7. Southridge, Brenden Kelly 9-125, Clay Gonzales 1-18, Bryce Overholt 1-15, Christian Candanoza 1-5, Diaz 1-4.
First downs--Richland, 5; Southridge, 16. Penalties-yards--Richland 11-85, Southridge 5-48. Fumbles-lost--Richland, 4-2; Southridge, 2-1. Missed field goals--Southridge, Mertens 40 yards, 2nd quarter