Monroe coach Charles Truitt's Tornadoes pulled off what Truitt called one of the most exciting wins in his coaching career Friday night when Charles Stafford threw a 51-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left to stun Baldwin.
MILLEDGEVILLE -- Charles Truitt said he could see it in his kids' eyes, said it was there all night -- that light, the one that says, "We will prevail."
Truitt saw it before Monroe's Class AAA first-round playoff game against 10th-ranked Baldwin, and he saw it again with 1:20 left in the game after Baldwin scored to take a 9-6 lead.
Then he saw the light explode when Monroe quarterback Charles Stafford hit Kevin Williams with a 51-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left to lift Monroe to a 12-9 win.
"They went crazy on the sidelines when he threw the touchdown,'' Truitt said. "Just crazy. It's a win I won't forget. The kids, they just had that look in the eye all night. They believed they were going to win.
"And they did.''
Monroe (6-5) had to go 65 yards in the final minute, but Stafford and Williams made the play of the season for the Tornadoes, who will now face Gainesville in the second round next week after shocking state power Baldwin (8-3) on the road.
Stafford completed 14-of-22 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an 8-yard TD pass to Terevious Hudson in the first quarter to give Monroe a 6-3 lead after the Tornadoes' defense stopped Baldwin with a goal line stand at the 2-yard line.
The Braves settled for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead, but Monroe stormed right back and kept the 6-3 lead until there was 1:20 left in the game, thanks to Vantrel McMillan, who intercepted a pass inside Baldwin's 10-yard line in the third quarter to hold off another drive.
"The defense played lights out (Friday night)," Truitt said. "We stopped them twice inside the 10-yard line. We have been on the other end of so many games like this. To win a game like this is wonderful.''