BROKEN ARROW — Jake Raines had dreamed since he was a little kid about having the opportunity that faced him late in his first playoff start as Broken Arrow’s quarterback Friday night.
Broken Arrow, trailing by three, needed points on its last drive to keep alive its bid for a second consecutive Class 6AI state title.
Raines led an eight-play, 79-yard march, capped by Sanchez Banks’ 3-yard touchdown run with 39 seconds left to lift No. 5 Broken Arrow past No. 3 Union 35-31 before an estimated 4,500 fans in the quarterfinals at Memorial Stadium.
Broken Arrow (9-2), after rallying with 21 points in the fourth quarter, advances to face top-ranked Owasso in the semifinals next weekend at a neutral site to be determined.
“It was definitely a roller coaster, but this is what I was looking forward to ever since I started playing football — a chance to beat Union especially, coming back, driving my team down the field and getting us a score at the end.,” Raines said.
Raines completed 7-of-10 passes for 217 yards, including a pair of fourth-quarter TDs. Banks had 30 carries for 155 yards and three TDs — his first came on a 43-yard run in the first minute after Raines opened the game with a 37-yard pass to Isaiah Keller.
For Union, quarterback Rovaughn Banks accounted for 243 yards and two TDs, and AJ Green had 24 rushes for 192 yards and two TDs.
“We just made one more play than Union did, really; that’s what it comes down to in a game like this,” Tigers coach David Alexander said.
Raines ignited the winning drive with a 39-yard bomb to Tory Dillard. Keller carried on the next three plays, with the second including a face mask penalty against Union. After Banks carried 9 yards for a first down at the 4-yard line, Raines gained 1 on a quarterback sneak that was designed not to reach the end zone.
“You don’t call a quarterback sneak on the 4 thinking you’re going to score,” Alexander said. “We wanted to make them use a timeout or burn 40 seconds off the clock, and then we weren’t going to mess around on second down.”
Banks carried for the TD on the next play, following an offensive line led by Oklahoma commit Andrew Raym.
“We were going to do what we always run, power right, and put it in for the win,” Raym said. ”Winning my last home game, the feeling is kind of indescribable. And it does feel good to be 3-0 against Union in my last three games with them.”
Banks added about his last two carries, "I knew I had to go. I've got to get the yards, got to score and keep my composure, be patient with the blocks and just go."
Alexander envisioned that dramatic ending with Union leading 14-7 at intermission.
“I told the team at halftime (that) if the defense would get a couple stops, we’re gonna score with a few seconds left to win it,” he said. “I don’t know how lucky I can be to be that prophetic.”
Banks’ 2-yard TD run tied it at 14 on Broken Arrow’s first possession of the second half. Union, however, answered with Rovaughn Banks’ 57-yard TD pass to Green and Stefaan Forbes’ 38-yard field goal to take a 24-14 lead into the final quarter.
Broken Arrow opened the fourth quarter with Raines’ 40-yard TD pass to Bryce Mattioda and then took a 28-24 lead as Raines connected with Maurion Horn on a 56-yard TD bomb. For Mattioda and Horn, it was their first receptions of the season.
Union answered with an eight-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Green’s 8-yard TD run with 4:23 left for a 31-28 lead.
Broken Arrow then responded with the winning drive. For Union (6-5), it was the fourth time in the past 12 games it gave up the winning points in the final minute. For Broken Arrow, it was the third time this season it scored a go-ahead TD in the final two minutes of a game.
“Doing it before, it helped, gave me some confidence to know what I’m doing,” Raines said. “It’s fantastic, a great feeling. Probably my funnest game all year by far.”