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By JOSH CLAYWELL firstname.lastname@example.org
LOUISVILLE — The Elizabethtown Panthers thought they had snatched victory from sure defeat on Friday night.
Senior Chris Gohman blocked a Holy Cross field goal with 2:31 left and the game tied at 35-all, but the visiting Panthers fumbled the ball away 48 seconds later and the Cougars scored with 1:06 left to secure a 42-35 win at Alumni Field.
Junior quarterback Devin Brown scored on a 12-yard run and senior kicker Jacob Hazle tacked on the point-after try.
Elizabethtown (2-1) had its chances on the final drive of the game. After senior Micheal Thomas was sacked for a 12-yard loss on first-and-10 from the Panthers’ 45-yard line, Thomas completed a 27-yard pass to senior Trevor Deneen.
Following an incompletion, Thomas found Gohman for 16 yards. After another incompletion, Thomas connected with Deneen, who ran out of bounds to stop the clock.
But Thomas’ next two passes were incomplete, with his final pass being tipped away from sophomore Mitchell Henry in the far corner of the end zone.
Thomas completed 16-of-32 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas was intercepted twice in the first half.
Gohman led all receivers with 177 yards and two touchdowns on six catches. Deneen caught seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Cody Withers made his return to the starting lineup after sitting out last week with an injury, and rushed for 43 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries.
Brown led Holy Cross (2-1) with 170 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, while also completing 11-of-16 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior receiver Chad Hazelwood caught seven passes for 118 yards and a score, while senior Jimmy Nauert had 118 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
Elizabethtown raced out to a 14-0 lead as Thomas connected with Gohman on a 27-yard strike 38 seconds into the second quarter and Withers scored on an 8-yard run 5 minutes later.
Brown scored on a quarterback sneak with 5:54 remaining in the half to cut the lead to 14-7. The Panthers answered 50 seconds later as Thomas found Gohman on a 67-yard touchdown pass and a 21-7 lead.
The Cougars scored the next two touchdowns, one on a 5-yard run by Nauert with 30.3 seconds left before halftime, and the other on a 1-yard run by Nauert to tie the game at 21-all.
Thomas gave the Panthers a 28-21 lead on a 6-yard run with 7:10 left in the third quarter, but Holy Cross tied it up again as sophomore Cody Schonburg reeled in a 4-yard pass from Brown on a play-action pass with 43.2 seconds left in the period.
Elizabethtown came right back again, scoring 19 seconds later when Thomas completed a 73-yard pass to Gohman, who had cramps in both legs after catching the long pass and outracing four Holy Cross defenders to the end zone.
The Cougars tied the game with 9:44 left to play when Brown hooked up with Hazelwood on a 29-yard strike.
Junior Titus Sublett was taken to a Louisville hospital after the game with apparent internal injuries according to the Elizabethtown coaching staff.
UP NEXT: Elizabethtown plays at former district rival Fort Knox at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752