BELLEVILLE — Trying to describe his game-clinching blocked field goal Saturday following Belleville East's 17-14 double-overtime victory over O'Fallon, Jeff Brown kept it simple.
"I just had to stand tall like a big old tree and get my hand out," said the 6-foot-2, 323-pound Brown, a senior who got a hand on Tucker McCann's potential game-tying 23-yard field goal attempt. "But I couldn't have done it without my teammates getting in there helping me out, getting the other guys off me."
The Lancers had been held to a 25-yard field goal by Matt Sotiropoulos on their possession to start the second OT, then they let their defense take over.
East held O'Fallon at the 6-yard line through three downs to set up McCann's field goal try.
The Lancers called a timeout and overloaded one side of the line hoping to get someone through for a block. In this case, the big man got it done.
"Since they were kicking from the hash, we had to get a big push from our right side because of the angle," East coach Tim Funk said. "I'm not a math guy but coach (Tom) Lodes, our defensive coordinator is, so that's why we put those guys to that side."
How did Brown get through?
"He's 320-some pounds and he's a warrior," Funk said.
Brandon Mason had 167 yards and a touchdowns on 39 workmanlike carries for the Lancers, while O'Fallon's Kentrail Moran ran the ball 27 times for 111 yards and two TDs.
East opened the game with a 90-yard kickoff return by Os Moore, who may have been shocked to see nothing but daylight through the huge hole that was open in the middle of the field.
Moore beat the kicker and made his way into the end zone as East took a 7-0 lead.
That's the way it stayed until late in the first half, when Moran scored on a 17-yard touchdown run with 1:11 remaining.
The Panthers tied it on McCann's extra point and both teams had chances to win in regulation.
Sotiropoulos was wide on a 32-yard field goal try late in the third quarter and a long O'Fallon drive stalled on a fourth-down incompletion. East kicker John Mathews also missed a 27-yard field goal with 1:04 remaining in regulation.
O'Fallon's Kris Hudson picked off a pass from East quarterback Drew Millas at the O'Fallon 16-yard line with 6:45 remaining.
Both teams scored touchdowns and extra points in the first overtime, with Moran and Mason reaching the end zone.
The second overtime was a battle of kickers and East came out on top.
"It was obviously a breakdown somewhere," O'Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst said. "They made a great play on it. The defenses were spectacular in regulation."
With slick field conditions hindering the offenses on both sides, the game morphed into a war on the line of scrimmage.
"The game plan going in was to try to keep it away from their athletes," Funk said. "We knew if we could iron out some drives and just try to keep the ball away from them the best we could, that could work. Our defense did a phenomenal job of keeping them bottled up."
There were only a handful of runs that went for more than five yards. East ran the ball 46 times. Mason got the call on 39 of those.
"They grinded the ball out and were able to get some first downs and churn out some yardage," Joggerst said. "The field conditions weren't the best for footing, it was hard for our receivers to get some stuff going. But give (East) credit, they did what they had to do and they shortened the game ... and were able to pull it out in the end."
It was East's homecoming and three former Lancers that played in the NFL -- Nathan Hodel, Garrett Johnson and Craig Heimburger -- were on the sideline serving as honorary captains.
"It means a lot," Brown said of the win. "We had the alumni coming back to watch us ... it was amazing. This is something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."