The only thing that could stop Homestead was the clock.
The Spartans scored touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions, and ended their eighth and final drive by taking a knee as the final minute as the game clock ticked down to give Homestead a 49-36 home win Friday over Snider, its first victory over the Panthers in 13 years.
“Snider's kind of the standard by which everyone measures themselves in this conference,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. “I feel like it's a big step forward for us.”
For much of the game, the Spartans (5-0) and Panthers (4-1) answered each other score for score. Homestead scored first, as Jake Archbold caught a nearly lateral pass from Luke Goode around the 15-yard line and then ran for the end zone, crossing the goal line. Snider responded with a 30-yard field goal by Trent Rider with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter, and from there the Homestead lead grew.
On the second play of the second quarter, Braeden Hardwick scored on a 3-yard run up the middle. Less than two minutes later, Snider's Kameron Trotter scored on a 6-yard run that cut the Spartans' lead to 14-10.
Homestead mounted another drive (and caught a lucky break when a fumble squirted out of bounds instead of into the arms of a member of the Snider defense), and capped it with a 1-yard keeper by Goode. Instead of responding in kind, the Panthers were halted by the Spartans on fourth down, giving Homestead chance to add another touchdown, this time a 6-yard pass from Goode to Little to stretch the lead to 28-10 with 31 seconds left in the half.
Panthers quarterback Jon Barnes Jr. took advantage of that window, throwing a huge pass to Alonzo Derrick to bring Snider to the 23-yard line then connecting with Jermaine Wells for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 2.9 seconds to go. The kick was no good, so Homestead led 28-16 at halftime.
The Spartans ate up the first five minutes of the second half and scored on a 22-yard pass to Griffin Little – on fourth down. They went for it on fourth down four times, converting on each of them.
Even then, Snider didn't back down, as Barnes responded with a 13-yard touchdown to Alonzo Derrick with 3:01 to go in the third quarter.
Homestead once again took its time marching down the field, concluding with a 23-yard pass to Jared Kistler with 10:39 to go up 42-23.
Snider also decided to go for it on fourth down on the next drive, a decision that paid off when Trotter spun out of the dog pile and into the end zone. The two-point conversion attempt failed, making it 42-29.
In what had become a routine play, Hardwick scored the Spartans' final touchdown on an 8-yard run up the middle. In all, he gained 165 yards on 25 carries.
Snider scored the final touchdown with 2:03 to go as Barnes targeted Drew Sims with a 15-yard pass. Barnes passed for 158 yards, completing 11 of his 18 pass attempts, and ran for 131 more.
Goode completed 26 of 35 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Little was his top receiver with 158 yards, Kistler had 82 and Archbold picked up 54.
“Every receiver, from Jared to Braeden and down the line, knows how to get open, and that makes my job easy,” Goode said.
The win puts Homestead atop the SAC for the first time since the Spartans joined the conference in 2015.
“We focused on the little, little details, and we came out and converted on every drive of the game,” Little said. “We can't lose when we do that. It was a great team effort and I've never been so happy in my life.”