Eight seconds left on the clock and 77 yards from the end zone. And Southeast still almost turned the situation into points.
Landon Eaton thought he had a touchdown after a embarking on a spectacular run while the first-half buzzer sounded. However, his dive for the goal line was ruled down at the 1.
The next time he touched the ball, which just happened to be on the kickoff to start the second half, Eaton left no doubt this time racing through LaFayette's kick coverage 85 yards for a touchdown.
If Eaton’s efforts on consecutive plays showed anything, it was that there are few situations Southeast can’t score from.
The cannon fired often at Raiders Stadium Friday night as Southeast posted a 48-26 victory over LaFayette in the Region 6-AAAA opener for both schools.
Eaton also scored the game's first touchdown off a 17-yard pass from Porter Johnson. After a second touchdown pass — a 9-yarder to Zac Cole — helped lift the score to 14-0, LaFayette put together it's most impressive drive of the night driving down the field in 13 plays. Dakota Cathey paid it off with a 6-yard touchdown run.
But immediately after, Gillespie took center stage.
The sophomore running back broke through more tackles Friday than ones that brought him down. His eight carries netted 178 yards and three touchdowns.
Southeast (5-0, 1-0) put together consecutive one-play touchdown drives sandwiched around a LaFayette three-and-out. Gillespie scored on runs of 57 and 31 yards.
Cole, a junior tight end, had his biggest game of the season catching a pair of touchdowns from Johnson in the first half.
Southeast led 34-6 at halftime. Eaton's kick return and the ensuing extra point made it 41-6. LaFayette put together three second-half touchdowns, two runs from Chase Keith and one from Alan Hu. In the midst, Gillespie added his third rushing touchdown of the night, a night that LaFayette coach Chad Fisher summed up succinctly.
"We got beat," he said. "They lined up and hit us in the mouth and we didn't respond until late. They just made plays and we didn't make plays when we had opportunities to.
"We didn't execute like we're capable of executing. We didn't do our job at times. (Southeast head coach) Sean's (Gray) got a good football team over there, they got a good squad and played well. We missed some key blocks, missed some holes, missed some tackles. Just couldn't put it all together on a consistent basis."
For LaFayette (2-3, 0-1), Cathey rushed 18 times for 98 yards. Hu added 54 yards on 17 carries. The Ramblers will be back at home next Friday to take on Northwest Whitfield as region play continues. Southeast will travel to Heritage.