Or perhaps the best is yet to come.
The Rebels stopped Sciotoville East on a fourth down and short play in overtime to preserve a heart-stopping 26-20 victory, which guaranteed the program's first-ever winning season, and kept their playoff dreams alive.
South Gallia had the ball first in the extra session, and scored on a short touchdown run by Curt Waugh to put pressure on. The Rebels, though, left the door open by failing on the two-point conversion.
Sciotoville, on its ensuing possession, advanced the ball to the 12 where the Tartans faced a fourth down and two. East quarterback Brent Downing ran a keeper around the right side before being stacked up behind the line of scrimmage by a host of Rebel tacklers including Waugh, Wes Clary, Ira Turner and Jeremiah Chapman to end the game.
Fans that made the trip from Mercerville erupted with cheers and South Gallia players rushed the field to congratulate the stubborn defense and celebrate an historic day for the 10-year old school.
“That stand there in overtime - the defense was tremendous,” said South Gallia coach Justy Burleson. “We had our backs against the wall against an excellent team with a tremendous group of athletes and these guys performed - I mean it's unbelievable.”
What's more - Burleson's club, with a 6-4 record, will likely sneak into the Division VI state playoffs. Losses by Strasburg-Franklin, Fairbanks and Beallsville paved the way for previously 10th-rated South Gallia to move up.
Sciotoville also entered the night in contention at 13th in the region, but fell to 4-6 overall and out of the picture.
The official playoff brackets will be announced Sunday afternoon by the Associated Press and live on the Ohio News Network (ONN) beginning at noon.
Burleson knew that making the playoffs was a very realistic possibility, and let his players know that. He was proud of the way his troops responded.
“We told them, if you have any hope of going on, you have to perform,” Burleson said. “These kids stepped up in a way that I've never seen out of any bunch at this school, and I'm so proud of them for what they've done.”
South Gallia's defense was the key to victory, as it held talented East running back Arthur Henderson to only 57 yards and the entire Tartan offense to 177 in all. Downing, the Tartan's other play maker, was held in check as well with 38 rushing yards and 47 passing.
South Gallia's offense only amassed 211 yards, but benefited from several big plays on offense and special teams. Waugh ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns while backfield mate Bernie Fulks added 62.
The contest almost didn't make it to overtime, however. Sciotoville erased a 13-point fourth quarter deficit by scoring twice in the final nine minutes, both on runs by Downing. His second score, a five-yard keeper up the middle, came with just 1:11 remaining in the game and evened the score at 20 apiece with the point-after pending.
Henderson, who was good on his first two extra point tries, missed wide left to keep the score even. The Rebels ran out the remaining fourth quarter clock and won it in overtime.
South Gallia, on the other hand, did not attempt an extra-point kick after any of its scores.
The first South Gallia strike came on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Williamson to Derrick Beaver late in the first quarter. Beaver beat his man by a couple of steps and caught the 15-yard pass in stride and raced to the end zone untouched.
“They were gearing up for us, we'd been watching it and we decided to try and exploit that and it worked to our favor,” admitted Burleson.
Williamson was an efficient 3-of-6 passing for 90 yards with two scores and no picks.
The teams exchanged punts before East finally cracked the scoreboard and took its only lead of the night. A 13-play drive culminated with an unusual-looking touchdown connection between Downing and J.R. Little.
Off a fake field goal from the 4, the holder, Downing dropped back and was under heavy pressure from the Rebel defense. As he was being dragged down, he threw the ball into the end zone, where it was caught by Little lying on his back. Henderson's extra point put East in front 7-6.
It looked like the score was going to stay that way entering intermission, until a big punt return by Dustin McCombs set South Gallia up at the 3-yard line with nine seconds left in the half.
“We had a block on, we got heat on (the punter), and it created an opportunity for (McCombs) to get a big return,” explained Burleson. “They had to stay in and keep a tight block and that gave him about 10 or 15 yards. From there on, he turned the jets on.”
McCombs reached for the pylon, but was ruled out of bounds at the 3 with less than 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
A sweep around the right side lost yardage, South Gallia called time-out with three ticks left. Williamson dropped back and riffled a pass to an open Robert Coury to reclaim the lead. Waugh ran in to the two-pointer to give the Rebels a 14-7 edge at the break.
South Gallia is 6-0 when leading at halftime.
The Rebels widened the lead to 20-7 when they put together a 12-play drive that ate up much of the third quarter and ended early in the fourth when Waugh rumbled in from three yards out.
South Gallia allowed East to fight back and send it to overtime, but the Gallia Countians were able to pull out the defining victory, and put the icing on what has already been a great season.
“This season - that's a program-maker. It's not just a program-builder, its a maker,” Burleson commented. “We're headed in the right direction, we can only go up from here, I think.”
In the more immediate future, it appears the direction South Gallia will be headed is north and a possible first-round match-up with Hannibal River.
Division VI regional quarterfinal games are played 7 p.m. this Saturday.