RALEIGH — Wake Forest kicker Zack Coates was hoping for a Cougars touchdown in the fourth overtime.
However, when call upon, the junior calmly delivered with a 29-yard field goal to carry his team to the Eastern Regional 4A finals with a 27-24 win over Cap Eight rival Millbrook.
The Cougars (11-3) will travel to Middle Creek next Friday with a berth in the state championship game on the line.
It was a tough way to end a great season for the 10-4 Millbrook team that bounced back from last years 3-8 record. Both teams had opportunities to win Friday nights game before it reached its fourth overtime.
Im so proud of my guys, Millbrook coach Clarence Inscore said. They worked so hard and got Millbrook football back to where its supposed to be.
After a 14-14 first half, both defenses threw shutouts in the second half.
Even starting at the 10-yard line in overtime, both teams found scoring difficult on the cold night in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
In the first overtime, Wake needed four downs before Devante Reynolds scored from the one-yard line. It was his third touchdown of the game. In regulation, he scored from the five and and caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from Mack Moore.
Devante came into this game knowing (running back) Bryce Love was banged up some and he has really stepped up as a senior, Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas said.
Millbrook also needed four downs to score with sophomore quarterback Reid Herring running a 3-yard keeper around the end and diving into the end zone to force the second overtime, when Coates and Millbrook kicker, senior Jarrett Cervi, traded field goals.
The third overtime appeared to be going Millbrooks way when Cougars quarterback Mack Moore fumbled away the ball while being sacked on first down. Millbrook then ran one play before Cervis attempt at a game-winning field goal sailed wide.
So many things happened in the overtimes, Lucas said. It looked like we had the advantage and then something would happen and Millbrook had the momentum.
Millbrook had the ball first in the fourth overtime, and on second down Cougars linebacker senior Norman Cade intercepted a Herring pass at the goal line.
They had been trying to get the ball there all night, so I just tried to pick it up, said Cade, who had one other interception this year. I knew they were going to go there.
Wake then ran two plays before letting Coates boot the game winner.
I was in the zone, but it was my biggest moment as a football player so far, Coates said. But I was hoping wed just score a touchdown.
Wake opened the game with a 75-yard drive and Reynolds first touchdown.
Millbrook ran a slick fake field goal in the second quarter to tie the score. Cervi lined up to attempt a 38-yard field goal, but holder Brian Miller tossed a perfect pass to Sam Blue, who got open behind the Wake defense for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Wake came right back with the 67-yarder and Herring led the Wildcats to another score. After Raul Oquendos 47-yard kickoff return set up a 44-yard drive, Herring threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Goldsmith to tie the score at 14-14 with 3:30 left in the half. That score set up the scoreless second half and four overtimes.