A Carthage incompletion with five seconds to play eerily set the stage for a heartbreak the Midlothian Heritage Jaguars were all too familiar with.
There was then a second incomplete pass from Jaguars 3-yard line with one second on the fourth-quarter clock and No. 6 Heritage leading the top-ranked Bulldogs, 42-35.
Carthage called a timeout to regroup and it worked, as Gunner Capps then completed a pass to Kaden Holcomb for a touchdown — though questionable on the spot — to pull within one point. Luis Piedra split the uprights and sent the 4A Division I regional semifinal game between No. 6 (11-1) Midlothian Heritage and No. 1 (12-0) Carthage into overtime.
It marked the first-ever overtime game in program playoff history for the Jaguars. The Bulldogs had used every second of the 4:04 left on the fourth-quarter clock to make the feat happen.
Heritage then took the first possession in overtime and Landon Ledbetter found Jay Wilkerson on a skinny post for a 23-yard touchdown on third-and-8. Matt Stanton split the uprights to put the Jaguars on top, 49-42.
Yet, the Heritage was still searching for its biggest defensive stop in program history.
And it didn't happen.
Capps found Mason Courtney for a 26-yard gain down to the Jaguars 4-yard line on third-and-15. Courtney then ran into the end zone for a touchdown on the ensuing snap and, after a Carthage timeout, Kelvontay Dixon took a sweep to the left to complete the two-point conversion and Bulldogs victory, 50-49.
Heritage has now lost three consecutive times in the 4A Division II regional semifinals, with the first two coming against Kennedale (49-47 in 2016, 45-43 in 2017).
Five points — total — now separate the Midlothian Heritage Jaguars from back-to-back-to-back regional championship appearances.
The latest loss will certainly be the toughest one to swallow.
The Jaguars led 21-6 at the end of the first quarter and then clung to a 28-21 advantage at the break. Carthage fought back from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to send the game into the final full-frame tied at 35-all.
Heritage was the first to strike in the fourth quarter after an eight-yard touchdown pass from Ledbetter to Wilkerson put the Jaguars up 42-35 with 4:10 to play.
The completion also pushed Ledbetter over the 300-yard plateau for the fifth time this season. The senior signal caller, who is now well within the top-10 all-time in career passing touchdowns, surpassed 3,000 yards passing for the season with his very first completion of the game — a seven-yard pitch-and-catch to Wilkerson.
Ledbetter finished the contest with 325 yards and three touchdowns through the air on 25-of-38 passing. He also tossed one interception.
The senior signal-caller ends his career with 126 career passing touchdowns, which ranks 10th all-time, according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football.
He trails only Travis Quintanilla (184, Refugio, 2011-13), Graham Harrell (167, Ennis, 2000-03), Hunter Lile (162, Booker, 2011-14), Michael Everett (159, Odem, 2013-16), Shelton Eppler (159, Navasota, 2013-15), Nick Gerber (157, Levelland, 2014-16), Garrett Gilbert (137, Lake Travis, 2006-08), GJ Kinne (132, Canton/Gilmer, 2006-08) and Scotty Young (129, Denton Ryan, 2008-09).
It's a short list. Not to mention Ledbetter surpassed the likes of Kyler Murray (117, Allen, 2011-14) and Colt McCoy (116, Tuscola Jim Ned, 2002-04) to make it happen. His 9,505 career passing yards is also just outside of the top 15 all-time.
Langston Anderson finished as the Jaguars top receiver with nine grabs for 171 yards, while Wilkerson matched the nine receptions and added two scores on 126 yards. Haydon Wiginton made the most of his two catches for 35 yards with a pair of touchdowns and Dre Washington added six receptions for 30 to his team-high 103 rushing yards (2 TDs) on 10 carries.
Ledbetter also rushed eight times for 73 yards and Brody Greeson ran for 30 yards on five carries.
Capps completed 22-of-33 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs, while Courtney rushed 14 times for 80 yards and a score. Tucker Smith (4-69) also scored on the ground.
Dixon (10-141), Baylor Colle (2-78, TD), Kel Williams (2-54, TD), and Kaden Holcomb (5-50, TD) led the Bulldogs in the receiving department.
Carthage faces Henderson at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lobo Stadium in Longview.