FAYETTEVILLE — Nyheim Hines believes every moment on a football field is special. It showed again Friday night.
Hines ran for a school record 454 yards and seven touchdowns to lead Garner by Fayetteville Jack Britt 63-56 in the second round of the 4AA playoffs.
“Every game is special,” Hines said. “In football, you’re always one hit away from it being your last play ever. So that’s why I just cherish every moment I have on the field, live for the next play with my teammates.”
With his team clinging to a seven-point lead in the offensively-dominant battle, Hines ran for two touchdowns in the final three minutes to keep Garner more than a touchdown in front. The Trojans needed that bulge as Britt kept coming back.
Garner led 49-42 after Britt’s Edmond Grant scored on a 4-yard run with 9:02 to play.
Hines converted two key third downs, then popped a 34-yard touchdown run. He ran over one would-be Britt tackler on the run, spun away from three others for the score which put Garner up 56-42 with 2:24 to play.
But there were still 21 more points to be scored. Britt responded with a nine-play touchdown drive (an epic length by the standards of the night) with Tre Hales catching a 34-yard ball from Harrison Strother to get the Buccaneers within 56-49 with 49 seconds to play.
Garner recovered the onside kick and two plays later, Hines bounced free off of the right side and beat two Britt defenders to the corner for a 34-yard touchdown run and a 63-49 lead with 35 seconds to play.
The Buccaneers came back with another quick touchdown drive – an 11-yard Strother catch – to get within 63-56 with just 8 seconds left.
Garner’s Austin Holland recovered an onside kick that bounced around a bit to seal the win.
The Trojans (10-3) will face rival Middle Creek (10-3) in the third round, meeting for the second time this season.
“It was just a great win for our whole football team and community,” said first-year Garner head coach Thurman Leach. “It took everybody on our football team to pull this out.”
Britt senior back Eric Carter, whose stellar fourth quarter helped Britt top Garner in last year’s 4AA Eastern Regional championship game, ran for 390 yards and three touchdowns in the loss and Strother threw for 342 yards.
The teams combined for 1,393 yards of offense on the night.