COLUMBIA — When the kick went up and time expired in the Providence Bowl, both Hickman and Rock Bridge fans erupted in cheers. Given their viewing angle in Memorial Stadium, many in attendance could not tell whether the 29-yard field goal attempt by Rock Bridge sophomore Joe Barbee made it through the uprights.
Seconds later, the question was answered when a flood of purple shirts rushed Faurot Field as Barbee lay on his back in anguish.
It might not have mattered either way for Hickman fan Irvyng Horton.
"From the beginning of the game, I was just like, 'Guys, we're rushing the field no matter how it goes.' And the last four seconds killed me," he said.
Horton, a senior, played in the Providence Bowl the last two years before watching Hickman's 22-21 victory in the stands on Friday.
"I'm so sad I didn't get to play this year, but this year, because we won, it's the most amazing, great feeling ever," he said. "I'm so excited. I'm about to go… not do anything illegal."
For Hickman senior Amber Spencer, who is eager to frequent Memorial Stadium next year as a student at MU, it was her first time on the field.
"It's insane," she said. "I love football. I'm probably the only girl my age to understand it, I think. I love it."
Spencer said the police did not attempt to halt the students' progress.
"They didn't really care, until we were on there too long," she said. "They just kind of pushed us off. They were like, 'We need to start getting the crowd out.'"
Hickman senior Nell Chronister compared the rivalry to the one between the University of Missouri and Kansas.
"But worse," she said.
For the Hickman seniors, this was their first win in the Providence Bowl, and head coach Arnel Monroe said it was a big one.
"Our community has really taken a shellacking," he said. "People forget that this is a proud program. ... This is a measure of hard work. It's one of the goals we set this year."
Both sides of the crowd, Hickman on the East side of the stadium and the Rock Bridge on the West, found plenty of opportunities to cheer.
The Bruins erupted when quarterback Logan Twehous found sophomore receiver Alex Ofodile for long pass that put them into field goal position with less than a minute remaining in the game. They knew 3 points would be enough to secure their fourth-straight Providence Bowl win.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, the kick went wide left and Hickman fans let their voices be heard last.
"It’s a party up in Mizzou," senior linebacker J'den Cox said. "I think we woke some people up in their dorms tonight. It’s a great feeling to see all the alumni with smiles on their faces. We’re going to enjoy it."