HUTCHINSON — Derek Racette never saw if his fourth-and-29 desperation heave connected with Michael Mesh.
When his high-arching pass finally did parachute down into the hands of Mesh, Racette's back was on the ground after being pummeled by a Conway Springs rusher.
No, he never saw Mesh's improbable catch or even more implausible run after for the game-winning touchdown with a minute remaining in Hutch Trinity's 33-28 upheaval of defending Class 3A champion Conway Springs.
But he heard it.
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"I just knew it when the crowd went crazy," said Racette.
No one was expecting another miracle from Mesh, who four plays earlier rescued the Celtics' offense with a 28-yard catch, hugging the sideline on fourth-and-20.
But when Racette's wobbler hung in the sunny Saturday afternoon air and only a defender surrounded Mesh, Trinity had to like its chances.
"I must catch it. I must go on," Mesh said to himself. "It was a little underthrown, so I had to get under it and get in front of the defender."
Not only did Mesh get position to haul in the catch for a first down, he sprinted the last 40 yards in for a touchdown with 1:19 left, when both Cardinal defenders fell.
"I was surprised," Mesh said. "At first, that I caught it and then I look back and two defenders were down. I was just amazed."
Mesh, who let Conway's Caleb Brill behind him for a 65-yard touchdown right before half, corrected his only mistake with an interception to end the Cardinals' last attempt.
Trinity advances to the quarterfinals and will travel to the winner of Norton-Beloit.
"These kids are winners," Trinity coach Sean Racette said. "They're going to play to their last down. That's just the way they've played all year."
Both teams had chances to secure the win, but Trinity's were beginning to pile up.
Three times in the second half Trinity drove inside Conway territory, but produced no points with drives ending on a fumbled snap on the 1, an interception and a missed field goal.
Even with Racette in the midst of a 351-yard passing day, Caleb Brill (286 total yards) was able to snatch the momentum for Conway.
The Conway Springs' senior slipped behind the defense on the last play of the first half for a 65-yard touchdown to cut the halftime lead to 27-21. After Trinity's botched snap on the 1, Brill reversed the momentum with a 79-yard touchdown sprint up the left sideline.
Contained for most of the day by Trinity's defense, the Cardinals' running game was able to protect the lead and the clock until finally relinquishing the ball to Trinity with 2:22 remaining to cover 76 yards.
"We felt like we were there to make the plays, but we just didn't do it," Conway Springs coach Matt Biehler said. "They made the big plays when it counted today."
And Racette knew exactly who to go to for the biggest one.
"I knew if I gave (Mesh) a chance to make a play, he'd make it," Racette said.
Conway Springs (10-1) 8 13 7 0 — 28 Hutch Trinity (11-0) 13 14 0 6 — 33
HT—Engweiler 4 pass from Racette (kick missed)
HT—Racette 20 run (Mesh kick)
CS—Doffing 4 run (Doffing run)
HT—Engweiler 21 pass from Racette (Mesh kick)
CS—Doffing 1 run (Schulte kick)
HT—Engweiler 8 pass from Racette (Mesh kick)
CS—Brill 65 pass from Martin (kick missed)
CS—Brill 79 run (Schulte kick)
HT—Mesh 77 pass from Racette (pass failed)
Rushing—Conway Springs, Brill 21-177, Doffing 21-85, Pauly 4-12; Hutch Trinity, Racette 17-68, Engweiler 10-55, Clark 4-13, Dyer 1-2, Flynn 1-(-11).
Passing—Conway Springs, Martin 1-4-65-1, Pauly 1-1-36-0, Brill 1-2-8-0; Hutch Trinity, Racette 16-32-351-2.
Receiving—Conway Springs, Brill 2-101, Barkley 1-8; Hutch Trinity, Mesh 5-159, Engweiler 8-134, Koenigsman 2-49, Clark 1-9.