Everything was set up for a heroic ending for Burlington Central.
After the Rockets surrendered 14 straight fourth-quarter points to North Boone, they were poised for a last-second win.
Quarterback Ryan Ritchie led the Rockets on a 40-yard drive to the Vikings' 10 yard line, but fumbled the snap with 40 seconds left, securing a 28-27 victory for North Boone in Big Northern Conference East action in Poplar Grove.
"We didn't make the plays when we needed to and they did, Rockets coach Aaron Wichman said. "In the fourth quarter, when we controlled our own destiny, we couldn't control the clock.
Central (2-6, 2-2) led 27-13 when Brandon Westergaard (22 carries, 106 yards) rushed in for a 1-yard score with 11:40 reaming in the fourth quarter.
North Boone (4-4, 2-2) responded by scoring 14 straight points and taking its first lead of the second half. Vikings' quarterback Austin Baden found Alex Albrecht, who made a surprise return from a broken ankle, on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 8:04 left in the game. A Baden extra point cut Central's lead to 27-20.
The Rockets were then held on a 3-and out and punted. The ensuing Vikings' possession led to a 4-yard touchdown run from Mitch Mischung. Baden found Jon Albrecht on the 2-point conversion for the 28-27 lead.
"We had the momentum going for us, we just couldn't execute, said BC's Tre Llanes, who finished with 138 yards and 2 touchdowns. "Our offense came out really strong.
The Rockets finished the game with 383 yards on the ground and had 3 players rush for over 100 yards with Ritchie (19 carries 132 yards) joining Llanes and Westergaard.
Llanes tied the game up at 13 when he jumped over the pile from a yard out with just 57 seconds left before halftime.
Llanes' scoring play was set up off a 13-play 67-yard scoring drive. Westergaard picked off Baden on the Rockets' 33 with 6:05 left in the first half.
The Rockets then chewed 5 minutes, 8 seconds off the clock by grinding the ball down the field with 13 run plays before Llanes wound up in the end zone. The senior was also responsible for putting the Rockets on the board early in the game after rushing for a 17-yard touchdown with 7:23 left in the first quarter.
North Boone answered back with a passing and rushing touchdown from Baden to take a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Ritchie gave the Rockets a 19-13 lead with a 10-yard scoring run with 8:41 left in the third quarter.