Potomac Falls High School's blue-haired junior, Greg Kuehn, had kicked 55-yard field goals in practice. So on a fourth-and-2 late in a tie game and no wind Friday night, Panthers Coach Wes Driskill figured Kuehn might just be able to make a 52-yarder.
He figured right.
With 59 seconds to play, holder and backup quarterback Thomas Edwards pulled down a high snap and Kuehn split the uprights with five yards to spare to lift the Panthers past host Liberty, 24-21, in a Class AA Northwestern District game.
Driskill said, "I don't care what color a kid's hair is as long as he can play, and [Kuehn] can play."
Kuehn's heroics were set up when Michael Bell stopped Liberty's Michael Hull on fourth-and-3 on the Panthers 17-yard line with 5 minutes 58 seconds to play.
Potomac Falls then drove 48 yards in 11 plays before Zachary Veselick dropped Jason Treon's third-down pass, setting the stage for the kick.
"[Driskill] asked me: 'Honestly, it's 50 yards. Are you good [from there]?' " Kuehn said. "I said, 'Yes, I'm good.' "
As time elapsed during the final drive, Kuehn was more worried about the direction of the kick than the distance.
"I wasn't even concentrating on the distance," Kuehn said. "I just didn't want to kick it wide left. I've been missing wide left all season."
Kuehn's only other successful field goal this season was a 45-yarder, but he did make a 49-yard attempt as a sophomore.
"I told [Kuehn] in the spring that kickers sometimes go through slumps, and he's slumped some, but I knew it wasn't just hope," Driskill said of sending the kicking team into the game. "Plus, if he does miss, we go to overtime."
Kuehn's field goal ensured the third-year school of its second six-victory season, as the Panthers improved to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in district play.
For Liberty, it was a disappointing end to a disappointing season.
But Eagles Coach Joe Trabucco--whose team won the Northwestern District championship last season but finished 2-8, 2-5 on Friday--took it well: "Any loss is a tough loss, but when a kid kicks a 50-yard field goal, you have to tip your hat to him."
Potomac Falls (6-4) 7 7 7 3--24
Liberty (2-8) 0 14 7 0--21
P--Treon 1 run (Kuehn kick)
L--M. Hull 4 run (Khan kick)
L--Childress 24 pass from Iverson (Khan kick)
P--Veselick 11 pass from Treon (Kuehn kick)
L--Lewis 7 run (Khan kick)
P--B. McKenna 1 run (Kuehn kick)
P--Kuehn 52 FG
RUSHING--Potomac Falls: Tipsword 4-78, B. McKenna 17-57, Lutman 10-34, Bailey 6-25; Liberty--M. Hull 11-66, Hawkins 12-55, Lewis 9-44, Kannard 5-18.
PASSING--Potomac Falls: Treon 7-12-1 89; Liberty: Iverson 5-13-1 83.
RECEIVING--Potomac Falls: Veselick 5-68; Liberty: Childress 3-51.