For the second straight week, and for the third time in its last five games, Phoebus played from behind.
And though it wasn't pretty — let's face it, nothing could have been in the mess that was Darling Stadium on Saturday — the Phantoms still are standing.
Colby Goodwyn rushed for all of his 121 yards in the second half and a dramatic reversal in time of possession carried Phoebus to a 10-7 win over Hanover in a Group AAA Division 5 semifinal. The Phantoms trailed 7-3 going into the fourth quarter but came back to win their 29th consecutive game.
Goodwyn's 2-yard touchdown run with 8:36 remaining put Phoebus (14-0) ahead for the first time on a cold, wet afternoon. The Phantoms' defense allowed negative yardage the rest of the way.
"For some reason, I think our team gets more fired up when we get behind," said Goodwyn, who had no rushing yards on five carries in the first half. "We came out with a lot more fire and fight in us.
"But we can't keep doing that, especially not next week. It might come back to bite us in the butt."
Next week will be the state-championship game at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. Phoebus will Stone Bridge, which defeated Massaponax 23-20 on Sunday.
At halftime, it would have been hard to envision the Phantoms advancing. Not only did Phoebus trail 7-0, it had one first down and 22 total yards. Of the Phantoms' 15 offensive plays, none were snapped beyond their 40-yard line.
The most telling statistic? The Hawks (9-4) held the ball for 15 minutes and 2 seconds of the first half. The ball-control, grind-it-out Phantoms? Only 8:58. Hanover tailback Deane Cheatham, a 215-pound bruiser, had 65 yards on 18 carries.
"Actually, I felt they were playing our game in the first half," Goodwyn said. "They were running the ball and eating the clock up. That's what we wanted to do in the second half."
That's what Phoebus did. In the second half, the Phantoms had possession for 18:14 to Hanover's 5:46.
"I'm so tickled how they came out in the second half," Phoebus coach Stan Sexton said. "At the end of the game, you could tell (the Hawks) were tired on defense. They were barely able to get down in their stance."
On the first drive of the third quarter, the Phantoms used nearly 51/2 minutes and got a 30-yard field goal by Eric Enderson. After Hanover punted, Phoebus had it cranking again. On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Phantoms were at the Hanover 5-yard line.
But quarterback Paul Morant lost the snap, and Hanover's Shreve Rohle recovered to kill that threat. The Hawks picked up a first down, but then Phoebus' Dontrell Jones knocked the ball loose from Cheatham. Jones also recovered, giving Phoebus a first down at the Hanover 15.
Six plays later, Goodwyn's touchdown made it 10-7.
"A good team like Phoebus is going to make plays, and they did," Hanover coach Josh Just said. "That was the biggest momentum turnaround. They're going to make plays, and we can't make mistakes."
Last week, the Phantoms trailed Lake Taylor 13-10 late before winning in overtime. In the ninth game of the regular season, Phoebus trailed Bethel 14-0 in the second quarter before also winning in overtime.
"Last year's team never had to do that because we had a strong offense and a strong defense," Morant said. "Basically, we were strong all across the board. But I told everybody (today), 'We've been here before and we know what we have to do to get that W.' "