Both the Arundel and Severna Park football teams were aware of the fact going into Friday night's clash that one more loss for either team surely would eliminate any hopes it had of making the playoffs.
And neither squad seemed willing to predetermine its postseason fate.
But, someone had to lose and face the reality that come mid-November, the only way they would see any postseason action would be as a spectator.
Arundel now must live with that reality.
The visiting Wildcats rode three first-half turnovers to a 14-13 halftime lead under the lights of Severna Park Friday. They lost grasp of that lead with 27 seconds remaining in the contest and bowed to the hosts, 19-14.
On the winning scoring drive, Severna Park moved the ball 70 yards on seven plays. More impressive was the fact that Falcon signal-caller Steve Foreman engineered the drive in only one minute and 37 seconds.
"A lot of people don't think he (Foreman) has what it takes to be a good quarterback," said Falcons coach Andy Borland. "He's had some experiences in his life where people thought he choked, but he didn't choke tonight."
Foreman connected with sure-handed receiver Robby McCandles on four straight passes that were good for 27, 6, 8 and 20 yards, before connecting with tight end Darrick Moran on a three-yard scoring strike.
"He's got great hands," said Borland of McCandles. "He was All-County last year, so they've been covering him pretty heavy, so it's been hard to get him the ball, but we got it to him tonight."
Arundel coach Buddy Hepfer was equally impressed with his team's performance.
"The kids played a helluva ballgame for us, they just missed on a couple of opportunities," said Hepfer. "A break here and a break there and we had them. In this game, you have to have a little luck sometimes."
One opportunity Hepfer was referring to was a first-and-goal at the Falcons' 4-yard line. The Wildcats sent running back Rodney Stevens up the middle on three straight carries but the 5-foot-9, 147-pounder only managed to pick up a yard on each carry.
On fourth-and-goal at the one, Arundel quarterback Jeff Bayne rolled right but his pass missed his target, wide receiver Andrew Trout, in the corner of the end zone.
Severna Park (4-2 overall, 4-0 in the league) controlled the tempo of the game in the first half but was haunted by turnovers (two fumbles, one interception). The Falcons out-rushed their visitors, 136-4, in the first half and still trailed by 1.
Arundel got on the board on its second possession on a 15-yard touchdown strike from Jeff Bayne to Rodney Stevens. The Wildcats opened the 66-yard, four-play scoring drive with a 45-yard pass from Bayne to Trout that gave them first-and-10 inside the Falcons' 20.
Severna Park answered on its next possession when Foreman plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out to cap an an eight-play, 63-yard scoring drive with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter.
The Falcons then took a 13-7 lead on their next possession when junior fullback John Jennings found pay dirt from 14 yards away. Jennings racked up 120 yards on 19 carries in the first half and finished the game with 205.
Arundel took the lead in the waning seconds of the first half when Trout intercepted a pass on a fake punt by the Falcons and returned all the way to Severna Park's 37-yard line. Four plays later the Wildcats were celebrating a 5-yard touchdown strike from Bayne to Stevens.
"You have to give Severna Park credit," said Hepfer, after watching his team drop to 3-4, 1-3 in the league. "They have a good ballclub, but our guys played their guts out tonight."