Although it entered Week 10 holding on to postseason hopes, a 14-10 win over Gahanna on Oct. 26 wasn't enough to help the Pickerington High School North football team make the Division I, Region 3 playoffs.
The Panthers snapped a two-game skid with the victory and finished 6-4 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
North entered Week 10 at No. 11 in computer points in its region, but settled for 10th as Huber Heights Wayne beat Trotwood-Madison 41-35 in overtime to secure the eighth seed and Hilliard Darby got by Dublin Scioto 13-11 to earn the seventh seed.
Miamisburg, which also might have gotten in with a win but lost to Clayton Northmont 21-6 on Oct. 26, finished ninth in the region.
"You want to make sure you've got a chance to get in Week 11," coach Nate Hillerich said. "That's what Pickerington North is used to. The whole game (against Gahanna), we were moving the ball, we were driving. Penalties killed us the whole game. We've been in a ton of tight games and we found a way to win the game."
Gahanna, which earned the fifth seed for the Division I, Region 2 playoffs despite a 5-5 regular-season record, led 10-7 until the Panthers put together a scoring drive on their last possession.
On third-and-goal with 17 seconds remaining, running back Larry Martin ran for a 2-yard touchdown.
Martin finished with 65 yards on 17 carries and quarterback Mike Lowery threw for 118 yards on 13-for-24 passing with one touchdown in his final prep game.
Lowery started at quarterback as a freshman for the Panthers and spent the past two years at Gahanna before transferring back to North for his senior season.
"It feels great to come back (to Gahanna), kind of like a homecoming, to get my last (win)," Lowery said. "We're ending the season with a win.
"That last drive, we came out and fired and realized the season was on the line and that we might as well go for it. It's finally good to show that we could win close games."