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Chamberlain 26, Wharton 25

The Chiefs blow a late lead but win on Austin Pullaro's last-second field goal.

By ROD GIPSON, Times Staff Writer
Published November 17, 2007


TAMPA - In a game Chamberlain was generally expected to win and seemed to be headed in that direction, Wharton refused to go away.

If fact, not only did the Wildcats not go away, they clawed their way back into the Class 5A first-round playoff game and were in a position to win it. But that was before a wild series of events that ended with Austin Pullaro's 43-yard field goal with four second left that lifted Chamberlain to a 26-25 win.

"You won't see a more exciting game than that," Chamberlain coach Billy Turner said. "You have to give (Wharton) some credit and give us some. We made a lot of mistakes, but we're very happy to win."

Chamberlain next travels to Gaither, which beat Sickles 37-3.

Leading 23-17, Chamberlain (8-3) seemingly put the game away when Dontavious Pyron recovered a fumble by quarterback Andrew Clifford at the Chiefs 9.

Instead of punting from deep in its territory, Chamberlain had Pullaro run out of the end zone for a safety.

After getting the ball, the Wildcats (5-6) needed just five plays to take the lead, with Khiry White catching an 18-yard pass from Clifford with 53 seconds left. But the extra point sailed wide, keeping it 25-23.

After the kickoff, Dontae Aycock completed three passes to move the Chiefs downfield and in position for Pullaro's winning kick.

Aycock finished with 82 yards passing and 51 rushing. Clifford, meanwhile, completed 16 of 25 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown.

Chamberlain had its way early, leading 10-0 midway through the second quarter. But Wharton scored on an 18-yard Dominique White pass from Clifford to trail 10-7 at halftime.

Chamberlain 26 Wharton 25