EUREKA • The Class 6 District 1 semifinal football game Friday at Eureka came down to the last second. Literally.
With one second on the clock, a 41-yard field goal attempt by Lafayette's Christiaan Masucci slid wide to the left, allowing the host Wildcats to escape with a hard-fought 14-12 victory.
Seconds earlier, a 43-yarder by Masucci hit the cross bar. But Eureka was called for running into the kicker, giving the Lancers one more shot.
The frantic final seconds also included a false start call against Lafayette and two Eureka timeouts to try to ice the Lafayette kicker.
Eureka (11-0) plays host to Lindbergh (10-1) for the district championship Nov. 4. Lindbergh won 16-14 at Kirkwood on Friday, ending the season of the defending Class 6 state champs.
Eureka finished the regular season ranked second behind CBC in the Class 6 statewide media poll; the Wildcats are No. 3 behind East St. Louis and CBC in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-school rankings.
Lafayette, which entered Friday's action with five consecutive wins, finished 7-4.
Eureka, which defeated visiting Lafayette 28-14 in conference play Sept. 15, drove to the Lafayette 21 before seeing its first drive stall. The Wildcats' second drive also ended in Lafayette territory as linebackers Hayden Bollinger and Daniel Peipert combined for a fourth-down stop of Eureka feature back Hassan Haskins near midfield.
Lafayette quarterback Ryan Novak followed by completing a series of short- to medium-range passes to set up the game's first score — a 27-yard field goal from Masucci that put the Lancers on top 3-0 with 20 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Indecision on the part of Eureka's return men on the kickoff allowed Lafayette's Bollinger to recover at the Wildcats 17. But that scoring threat ended when Eureka's Garrett Fain picked off Novak's first-down pass in the end zone.
The Wildcats marched 80 yards on 10 plays to take a 7-3 lead with 8:03 to play in the first half on a 1-yard scoring run by Haskins for his 30th touchdown of the season. Tom Burke added the kick.
With time winding down before halftime, Eureka was looking to add to its lead when a big hit by Eureka's Alex Adams on a pass completion knocked the ball into the air, allowing teammate Jamal Martin to come up with the interception to close out the opening half.
Lafayette took advantage of another muffed Eureka kickoff to open the second half, taking over at the Wildcats' 35.
On fourth down, Novak eluded the rush and Adams came up with an acrobatic catch for 21 yards to the Eureka 9. Four plays later, Masucci booted a 25-yard field goal to cut the Eureka lead to 7-6 with 9:18 to play in the third quarter.
One play after an Adams interception, Novak completed a 51-yard bomb to Martin to the Eureka 7. But the Wildcats defense, featuring a Haskins sack, shut down the Lancers and Lafayette came away empty when Masucci's kick from 32 yards out with 5:52 left in the third quarter sailed wide right.
Three plays after taking possession, Eureka added to its lead when Haskins took a sweep to the left, stiff-armed a defender in the backfield and ran through a couple of more tackles en route to a 44-yard touchdown, his 31st of the season. Burke's kick with 4:22 to play in the third quarter stretched Eureka's lead to 14-6.
The Lancers responded with a scoring drive that helped set up the night's late-game drama. One play after a defensive holding call against Eureka kept the Lafayette drive alive, Novak found Adams for a 19-yard touchdown on a sliding catch at the back of the end zone to cut the Eureka lead to 14-12 with 7:06 to play in the game.
On the try for two, Novak rolled to his left and threw toward Adams, who was unable to come up with a juggling catch.
The visiting Lancers regained possession with 2:24 remaining to put themselves in position for their last-second kick.
Eureka and Lafayette have met 15 times since 2008, including five times times in the playoffs. Lafayette swept both the regular-season and playoff games in 2012, with Eureka doing the same the next fall. In 2014, Eureka took the regular-season victory, with Lafayette coming away with the playoff rematch. Last year, it was Lafayette that won the regular season and Eureka that captured the win the district semifinals.
With two wins over Lafayette this season, the Wildcats have are 9-6 in games against their Rockwood School District rivals since 2008.