COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge football stadium was in mid-celebration.
Wide receiver Kenny James had leaped high into the air between two defenders to catch a 14-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Bruins within one point of Blue Springs South (21-20) with just less than seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Fans were screaming, players were jumping, the band was blaring and coaches were hugging.
And then there was a thud.
Rock Bridge’s extra point was blocked, and the celebration was flipped.
The opposing team's fans were screaming, its players were jumping and its coaches were hugging.
“You know if you block it, it’s going to be a momentum killer,” Owen McGraw, who blocked the kick, said with a smile.
The Bruins began the fourth quarter tied with the Jaguars at 14-14, and ended up losing the game 35-20.
“That time they just jumped over the line, and they were right there before I could get the ball off,” Bruins kicker Ian Patterson said. “I think there was some sort of momentum shift there.”
After the blocked extra point, Rock Bridge immediately gave up a 60-yard touchdown pass. What was supposed to be a 21-21 tie abruptly became a 28-20 deficit.
“It’s disheartening, for sure,” Patterson said.
With just less than four minutes remaining, Rock Bridge was deflated. But the Bruins attempted a comeback with one last effort to salvage the game.
Bo Bell began the drive at the Bruins’ 19-yard line and was promptly sacked. Despite gaining two more first downs, he was sacked again on fourth down at the Bruins’ 39-yard line to turn the ball back over to the Jaguars.
With just a minute to go, Rock Bridge gave up one more touchdown for the final score.
The loss brings the Bruins to 6-3 on the season and 1-1 in district play. If the Bruins had won, they would have advanced out of districts for the first time since 2005. Rock Bridge has one more opportunity next weekend to advance to sectionals. The team plays Blue Springs at home.
The Bruins ended the first half tied 7-7. They ended the second half tied at 14-14. But in the final six minutes, Rock Bridge gave up 14 points after the blocked extra point.
“I saw him coming right up the middle, but I couldn’t stop mid-swing,” Patterson said. “There was nothing I could do."