In a tied game that looked destined for overtime, Pompton Lakes quarterback Robbie Meyers connected with Daniel Foote on a 42-yard end zone prayer as time expired to complete the Cardinals' dramatic fourth-quarter comeback over Saddle Brook, 39-33.
After the play, several Saddle Brook players dropped to the ground in disbelief, head in hands. For the second straight year, Pompton Lakes had clipped the Falcons on a last-minute score in the North 1, Group 1 semifinal game.
"I couldn't have asked any more of my team," Saddle Brook coach Leo Ciappina told NorthJersey.com. "They played every down to the best of their ability. We just came up a little bit short. It hurts."
Saddle Brook clung to a a slight lead most of the game until the fourth quarter when Pompton Lakes jumped out with two scores to take a 33-26 advantage with only four minutes to play.
The Falcons knotted it up at 33 on a 59-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Bottine, and then got the ball back with about a minute to play after holding the Cardinals on their next possession. But Pompton Lakes intercepted a pass and returned it to around midfield with just seconds to play in regulation, setting up the dramatic heave that won them the game.
With the victory, the Cardinals will head to MetLife Stadium on Saturday to face Cedar Grove in the sectional championship at 1 p.m.
The loss, only the Falcons' second of the year, ends Saddle Brook's season.
"Great Season Falcon Football team!" the high school's Twitter account tweeted encouragingly after the deflating defeat. "Truly the pride of Saddle Brook!"