ST. PETERSBURG ó Sitting outside the playoff picture and trailing 14-3 late in the third quarter, East Lake knew it needed to buckle down to have any hope of making the playoffs this season.
And after a furious comeback, Micah Abraham, Isaac Gibbs and the Eagles kept those playoff hopes alive, beating St. Petersburg 20-17 in overtime.
"We knew we had to win this game and the next two games we had," Abraham said. "We came out with a target in our head because all of us want to go to the playoffs. We knew we had to come out here and win."
Abraham had the winning touchdown catch in overtime after the Green Devils (5-3, 2-2) failed to find the end zone during their possession.
This was his second winning touchdown catch in overtime this season. He caught a score against Countryside in a triple-overtime victory Sept. 28.
"Same route, same play, same everything," Abraham said. "Give them a little slant and then go out. I wanted to change it a little bit, but it turned out good."
Gibbs finished with more than 100 yards rushing for the Eagles (4-4, 2-1).
"That comes from the guys in front of him," East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. "Theyíre growing up substantially. Now Isaac is able to do some more of the things heís able to do that we werenít able to do earlier in the year."
Despite trailing during the second half, Abraham said his team remained confident.
"Since the start of the game, we knew we had it," Abraham said. "We were just making mental mistakes that led us not to score. It was all mental mistakes, but when we cleaned it up we had them."
The Eagles failed to score on four tries inside the 5-yard line during the first half. They also had a punt return touchdown by Abraham called back due to a penalty.
"Somehow, I always get unlucky with that on the kick returns or the punt returns," Abraham said. "I donít know how."
Hudson said his goal each week is to balance Abrahamís workload enough to find ways to give him the ball on offense.
"Heís gotta play defense, heís gotta be in the return game," he said. "Youíre always trying to find ways to give him the ball. Sometimes you have to decoy him. Heís worked hard to keep his endurance up."
East Lake, which hosts Seminole next week, knows it needs to win out to have a chance to make the playoffs.
"We gotta keep winning," Hudson said. "Hopefully weíre not knocked out. Last year, a couple 6-4 teams didnít make it. Thatís the goal. We gotta try to win out. Itís senior night. So itís a big night for them and hopefully we get a win."