"I was just thinking fall. Fall, Phillip fall! Please don't fumble it," Miller said. "I knew he could get out if they were all coming towards us but, I just didn't want him to fumble it."
It's a good thing Latomondeer didn't hear Miller. The East Prairie junior was well on his way to returning an onside kick with less than two minutes left in regulation as Latomondeer iced the visiting Scott City Rams' comeback bid on Friday night with a 50-yard touchdown return giving his Eagles the 37-23 win.
"Coach, he usually says 'if you get a good bounce just get it and take it to the house if you want to," Latomondeer said about the play. "I saw the hole with a group of people to my left and just one to my right, so, it was open."
With Scott City down to their last chance, the Rams needed the ball back. They had already covered up one onside kick that eventually lead to a 30-23 game. Everyone at East Prairie Stadium knew what was coming as Scott City wanted to complete their comeback which consisted of knocking the Eagles' once 23-point lead down to seven throughout the second half.
Scott City's onside try fell right into the awaiting hands of Latomondeer. Just like on his 39-yard touchdown reception from East Prairie quarterback Connor Scott in the third quarter which made it 30-7 Eagles.
"That's called God being with you," Aycock said. "Phillip's a big play guy. He's a secret to other teams. People don't look at him. He's had four interceptions on the year and a big play there. He just came up huge for us right there.
"Believe it or not, we've worked on that," Aycock added. "The only way you run it back is if you get a perfect bounce. And he got a perfect bounce."
It was the play that saved the game for East Prairie as Scott City continually chipped away at the Eagles during the second half.
Scott City quarterback Jamie Scholz, who threw for 137 yards on 10 completions urged the Rams in the right direction with a nine yard touchdown pass to Austin Atchley in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 30-13.
A 49-yard touchdown bomb to Garett Schaefer, again from Scholz, made it a 30-20 Eagle lead. The Rams went for their second onside kick of the night and ended up falling on it to take back possession.
Scott City drove down the field into East Prairie's red zone but was unable to punch it in for six. Knowing that a field goal would be needed, Schaefer kicked in the three points from 22 yards out and cut East Prairie's advantage even more to a one possession game, 30-23.
Scott City's defense was leading the comeback bid even though the offense was putting the points on the board. The Rams stopped East Prairie twice inside the 10-yard line during the second half preventing the home team from putting the nail in the coffin.
"There were several times we could have put a thorn in it," Aycock said. "Hat's off to Scott City's defense. They came up big in the second half.
"You can't make mistakes like we made against teams like Scott City. They are a well-coached team and they're going to take advantage of your mistakes. But, our kids, what I'm really proud of, they reached down and they found a way to win even though we had all those mistakes."
A key to East Prairie's success was the lack of Schaefer's on the ground. Scott City's senior playmaker was held to 39 yards on 14 touches as it was no secret who the Eagles came to stop on Friday night.
"We really, really...keyed on him," Aaron Miller said. "We ran a lot of drills this week in practice where we put our fastest on the ball and did cutback drills and pursuit drills everyday.
"I feel like we did a good job against their rush."
Aycock added about Schaefer; "He was our game plan. There's no doubt that when you go to play Scott City your there to stop No. 22. We focused on him all night long. We said that if we can hold him to under 100 yards we could win the game.
"Our defense came up huge."
Aaron Miller, who played a pivotal role also on defense down the stretch in the fourth quarter, led the Eagles dominant rushing attack with 116 yards on 16 carries and added a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter just before halftime. Zach Shipman chipped in with 80 yards on 13 rushes and punched in two scores as well.
In all, the Eagles ran for 214 yards.
East Prairie (2-1) and it's immovable run defense bottled Schaefer and Alex Eichhorn up for a combined 82 yards on 29 carries. The Eagle defense as a whole stopped Scott city on the ground for 80 combined yards.
"We just play mad," Miller said about the Eagles defense. "We're just so mad. We fly to the football and hit. That's what we do."
EP -- Zach Shipman 1 run (J.T. Aycock kick), 7:47
EP -- Safety (Michael Russell tackle in end zone), 4:07
EP -- Shipman 3 run (run failed), 1:17
SC -- Alex Eichhorn 1 run (Garett Schaefer kick), 10:50
EP -- Aaron Miller 5 run (Miller run), :37
EP -- Phillip Latomondeer 39 pass from Connor Scott (Aycock kick), 7:50
SC -- Austin Atchley 9 pass from Jamie Scholz (kick failed), 3:06
SC -- Schaefer 49 pass from Scholz (Schaefer kick), 8:01
SC -- Schaefer 22 field goal, 1:24
EP -- Latomondeer 50 return (Aycock kick), 1:18
Scott City -- Alex Eichhorn 15-43, Garett Schaefer 14-39, Jamie Scholz 5-(-21), Travis
Phillips 4-19. East Prairie -- Dalton Golightly 4-9, Zach Shipman 13-80, Aaron Miller
16-116, J.T. Aycock 4-9, Connor Scott 2-0.
Scott City -- Jamie Scholz 10-17-1 137. East Prairie -- Connor Scott 5-7-0 116.
Scott City -- Corey Rogers 2-16, Austin Atchley 6-98, Alex Eichhorn 1-0, Garett Schaefer 1-49. East Prairie -- Zach Shipman 1-12, J.T. Aycock 3-65, Phillip Latomondeer 1-39.