MURFREESBORO â€” Lebanon earned a 20-17 win in the regular season finale Friday night when a 38-yard field goal attempt from Siegel's Jesse Chambers fell short with 27 seconds left.
The Blue Devils built a 17-3 halftime lead and held off a late Siegel charge to end their injury-plagued season at 4-6. Siegel dropped to 5-5 but, with a Â little help from Smyrna beating Wilson Central 23-7 and Oakland blanking Blackman 7-0, will make its first playoff appearance next Friday night.
"We ask our guys to continue to fight and we battled and fought hard," Lebanon coach Bobby Brown said.
Turnovers were key in the ballgame and it set up Lebanon's first score. Siegel muffed a Lebanon punt and Robert Crudup recovered at the Siegel 23-yard line.
The Stars' defense held and forced a 30-yard field-goal attempt from Nathan Gibson. The kick went right down the middle and the score was 3-0.
Later in the second quarter after a Siegel punt gave the Devils the ball at midfield, they drove the ball down in five plays, keyed by a 38-yard pass play from quarterback Matthew Maynard to Robert Crudup for 38 yards. Maynard took the ball in on a quarterback keeper from 3 yards out and Lebanon led 10-0.
The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving Siegel the ball on the 35.
A 45-yard catch and run by Marc Gooch set Siegel up at the 11. Lebanon's defense stiffened and forced a 22-yard field-goal attempt by Chambers that sneaked inside the right upright and the score was 10-3 with less than 90 seconds to play in the first half.
Lebanon drove the ball down the field in 58 seconds. The key plays were completions totaling 23 yards and a 16-yard run by Maynard.
Maynard found Crudup from 22 yards out as he leaped and caught the pass near the end zone and the score was 17-3, Lebanon, at intermission.
Opening the second half, Lebanon was driving the ball deep in Siegel territory, but Maynard made a mistake throwing the ball to Joseph Ward, who intercepted it and returned it to the 37-yard line.
A 40-yard catch by Gooch set up Siegel deep in Lebanon territory. The Devils' defense stiffened and took the ball over on downs at their 19.
The Blue Devils drove the football inside the Siegel 25-yard line, but as Maynard rolled out a Siegel defender was on top of him and he fumbled the ball which Siegel recovered at the 39.
Siegel scored before the end of the third quarter as Tanner Witt found Gooch again from 46 yards out and the score was 17-10 heading into the final quarter.
Siegel's next possession began at its 14-yard line. A penalty backed the Stars up and forced them to punt from their end zone.
The punt was fielded and returned to the 19-yard line of the Stars.
A Blue Devil penalty backed them up to the 27. After a 12-yard completion from Maynard to twin brother Jacob set the ball at the 15; the drive stalled and Gibson was called on to kick a 32-yard field goal that went through the uprights and it was 20-10 Blue DevilsÂ with a little over six minutes left on the clock.
"Our special teams were huge tonight," Brown said after the game.
Siegel, however, had one last rally left and second-string quarterback Conner Smith found that man, Gooch, again on a short route and he turned it into an 84-yard catch and run to make the score 20-17.
For the night, Gooch had over 200 yards receiving for Siegel.
Siegel attempted an onside kick and recovered, taking over at the 47-yard line.
Siegel moved the ball down into field-goal range as Smith was sacked on a third-and-5 play, setting up Chambers for a 38-yard field-goal try.
The kick was up and sailed near the uprights but just fell short. Lebanon ran the clock out to preserve the win.