ALBANY -- With just under two minutes left in its game against Wilkinson County, Dougherty -- which was down, 19-14 -- needed a number of things to go in their favor in order to pull out the win -- and surprisingly, all of them they did.
As a result, Dougherty (2-2) escaped with a 21-19 win to avoid falling to 1-3 to start the season.
The first thing the Trojans needed was a score, and that came courtesy of a long TD pass from backup quarterback to Michael Payne to former quarterback-turned-receiver Sharoski Griffin that was tipped by a Warrior defender and miraculously reeled in by Griffin in the front corner of the end zone with just 58.9 seconds remaining on the clock.
"I just figured I had to make a play for my team," Griffin said. "He tipped the ball and I made a good play on it."
The second thing Dougherty needed was for it defense to stop Wilkinson from getting in ranged and attempting a potentially game-winning field goal.
This proved to be a challenging task for the Trojan defense as they allowed Warrior quarterback David Whipple to scramble for a first down on fourth-and-10 to keep the drive alive with 20 seconds left in the game.
Then they allowed Whipple to hook up with Chris Cleveland for a 31-yard completion that put the Warriors on the eight yard line with six seconds left.
But fortunately for coach Jesse Hicks and his Trojans, the Warriors' field goal attempt was wide to the right.
"We've been trying to figure out what it was going to take to get us over the hump, character wise," Hicks said. "And I think we just showed it with how we played (Saturday night) and finished."
Griffin, a Herald Dynamite Dozen selection, finished the game with two receiving touchdowns -- one of which came from starting quarterback Justin Nelson, who was benched late in the game.
The Trojans came out strong against Wilkinson, scoring early with a touchdown on a hook up from Nelson to Griffin to go up 7-0 in the first.
The Trojan defense was just as effective early as they forced the Warriors to punt after every possession in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Dougherty would go up by two scores after a marvelous 30-yard catch and run by Marcus Williams.
Wilkinson would answer to bring the Warriors within a touchdown, 14-7, going into halftime.
The Warriors got the first possession of the second half and took to midfield before the drive stalled but eventually scored, and missed the PAT, late in the third.
Then, one series later, Whipple completed a 50-yard bomb to tight end Alvin Dupree that resulted in a touchdown to put Wilkinson ahead late, 19-14 as the Warriors missed the two-point conversation.
During the fourth quarter, with his team desperate for a score, Nelson tried to make a long pass that would have put them inside the 20 yard line but it was picked off. The Trojans' defense held on the next series, setting up Griffin's heroics on the final drive.
The Trojans, who improved to 2-2 with the win, will next play Oct. 1 at home against Crisp County in their Region 1-AAA opener.