With the Class 1A state championship game hanging in the balance, everyone at Lewis Field Stadium on Saturday knew who was getting the ball for the Centralia Panthers.
Trailing Smith Center by two points and facing a fourth-and-goal at the Redmen 2 with about a minute left, the Panthers called the number of standout quarterback Kamble Haverkamp, and the senior delivered.
Haverkamp scored the game-winning touchdown with 55 seconds left to help Centralia notch an 18-14 come-from-behind victory and deny Smith Center's bid for a third straight championship.
With winds gushing at high speeds, Haverkamp completed a rare pass for a fourth-down conversion earlier in the game-winning drive to move the ball to the 10. Centralia then took it down to the 2 after three straight runs.
On the deciding play, Smith Center clogged up the middle, but Haverkamp bounced outside to find a wide-open path to the end zone.
"He just made a play," Smith Center coach Darren Sasse said. "Great players make the big plays and he's a great player."
Haverkamp, who scored all three of Centralia's touchdowns and finished with 104 yards on 23 carries, said he recognized the outside would be open.
"I saw a seam on the outside. I knew I had to make one guy miss," Haverkamp said. "I got lucky and was able to do that, and it was open field from there."
After Haverkamp's last touchdown, Smith Center started at its own 16 with 47 seconds left but couldn't move the ball, and the game ended with an incomplete pass.
Smith Center took a 14-6 lead into halftime on the strength of touchdown runs of 21 and 13 yards by senior quarterback Trenton Colby.
The Redmen, which saw a 22-game win streak snapped, missed out on chances to extend the lead in the third quarter, seeing two drives stall in Centralia territory.
"We had our chances; third quarter was where we had a couple chances to score and build a bigger lead, and we didn't do it," Sasse said.
The wind had a big effect on strategy for both teams, wreaking havoc on the kicking game and taking the passing game out of the equation for most of the game.
"The wind was obviously going to be a big factor," Sasse said. "Really second-guessed myself on some decisions, and (Centralia) coach (Larry Glatczak) was probably the same way."
Haverkamp brought the Panthers within two points on a 37-yard run with 6:45 left in the game, but Centralia couldn't convert on the two-point try. The Panther defense got a quick stop and a short punt into the wind allowed Centralia to start the drive at the Smith Center 24 with 4:17 left.
Smith Center came up short in its bid for an 11th state championship, while Centralia captured its fourth title.
Colby finished with 138 yards on 15 carries with two TDs while Jakob Sasse had 84 yards on 19 carries for the Redmen. Colby had a team-high eight tackles while Colton Haresnape added six tackles.
Smith Center (12-1) battled injuries throughout the season, losing key linemen Aaron Moss and Charlie Timmons and running back Jaden Atwood, who was injured late in last week's semifinal.
"A lot of kids stepped up that probably weren't thinking they were going to play this year," Sasse said. "I was really proud of all of them."
"Just a hard-working group of guys," Sasse added. "Proud of the effort they put in to get to this point. You'd like to win it, but hats off to Centralia. Great team."