There was plenty of it at "new" Don Drumm Stadium on a hot, steamy Saturday night, especially in the fourth quarter.
Marietta College clung to a 32-24 advantage with just seconds remaining in its 2011 football season opener against visiting Thiel (Pa.) College. But the Pioneer defense was backed up to its own goal line, or just three yards from it.
There was time for one more play in the game, and Jeff Filkovski-coached MC needed a stop to clinch the victory.
Thiel needed a touchdown and then an ensuing two-point conversion just to even the count and send it into overtime.
Needless to say, everyone in the stadium was at the edge of their seats, or if they were standing, their eyes were focused in the direction at the far end of the field, a hop, skip and jump from Greene Street.
Before that one last play, though, Marietta College had been pretty much in control of the game. The Pioneers did trail briefly 3-0 in the opening period but after quarterback Andrew Keller hit Kirby Harris with a 23-yard scoring strike to make it 6-3, it was just basically a matter of protecting the lead.
At the break, the Pioneers led 16-3, and the halftime ceremony featured a dedication to the new facility.
In the third quarter, Thiel cut it to 16-10, and at the 10:06 mark Marietta lost Keller to an arm or shoulder injury. Fortunately, though, the Pioneer QB was able to walk off the field under his own power.
Filling in for Keller was Kyle Shackle, a 5-foot-11, 213-pound senior.
The fourth quarter proved to be a wild and wholly one with Shackle completing a 32-yard TD pass to Harris early on.
The MC cushion then became 19 points when Shackle hooked up with Alex Fountain for a four-yard score. The Pioneers appeared to be in command, but....
Thiel of Greenville, Pa., did not throw in the towel - not by a long shot. The Tomcats scored on two passing touchdowns in a little over a minute's time to reduce the deficit to five (29-24).
At the 2:15 mark, Marietta got three of those points back when Nathan Zarnoski kicked a 29-yard field goal, making it 32-24.
Thiel still had time, though, and was able to move the chains on its last offensive possession to just inside the Pioneer five.
Before the final play, both schools burnt a timeout.
The question for the Pioneer defense, was Thiel signal caller Jared Soell going to pass or run the ball? Up to that point, Soell had rushed for a game-high 124 yards - but he'd also thrown for all three of the Tomcats' TDs.
So, here we go, one final play.
Out of the shotgun, Soell got the snap and never hesitated. Looking to his left, he threw to Nate Houpt..
The Pioneers were elated; the Tomcats dejected..
What a fitting way to begin Marietta College football play at renovated Don Drumm Stadium.
Ron Johnston is the sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org