Lambert needed a little "magic" to win its home opener.
The Longhorns trailed 17-16 with under 30 seconds to play and faced third down from their own 23-yard line before quarterback Brock Maxwell hit wide receiver T.J. Russell with a short slant toward the middle of the field. Russell then flipped the ball to a streaking Chandler Register, who went up the sideline for a 58-yard gain on a beautifully executed hook-and-lateral.
The play set up kicker Ryan Karjala, who hit a 36-yard field goal attempt with 4.9 seconds remaining to give the Longhorns a 19-17 victory over the Hornets on Friday at The Horn.
Roswell tried to ice Karjala with two consecutive timeouts, but the senior never lost focus.
"When they called the timeouts I was just telling myself that I had already made the kick and we had won the game," said Karjala, who acknowledged that the kick was "easily" his biggest moment as an athlete.
Maxwell rushed for 90 yards for the Longhorns, but the 58-yard pass that set up Karjala’s field goal was his only completion of the night.
"Sometimes you’ve got to make magic," Lambert coach Sid Maxwell said.
"We had tried it two plays before and dropped it, but we needed a big play so we went away from it and then came back to it, and it was executed perfectly. Sometimes luck helps too."
Lambert (2-0) took an early lead following a Roswell (1-1) fumble. Jake Vazquez ran 51 yards to put the Longhorns up 7-3 with 53 seconds left in the first quarter.
Roswell jumped ahead 10-7 at halftime thanks to a scoring drive that started with less than two minutes to go in the second quarter.
The Hornets took the ball from their own 40-yard line and scored when quarterback Ryan Monty hit a perfect four-yard fade pass to Bennett Barton in the corner of the end zone with 13.8 seconds left in the half.
Roswell extended the lead to 17-7 on the first series of the second half when Andrew Kwateng (192 rushing yards, TD) capped off a 73-yard drive with a three-yard run.
After an unsuccessful series by each team, Lambert closed the gap with a 73-yard scoring drive, most of which the Horns gained on a 47-yard run by Maxwell.
James Little (27 yards rushing, TD) got the score, pushing his way into the end zone from the 2 with 1:47 left in the third. But the Longhorns mishandled the snap on the extra point and remained down 17-13.
Lambert later cut the lead to 17-16 when Karjala hit a 37-yard kick with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Still trailing 17-16 with under three minutes to play, Lambert drove to the Roswell 22-yard line only to see three straight penalties back them up to the 38-yard line.
Facing a fourth-and-20, Lambert elected to have Brock Maxwell attempt a 53-yard field goal. Maxwell’s attempt was dead center but fell a few yards shy of the crossbar, and Roswell took over at the 20-yard line with 2:33 to play.
Kwateng forced the Longhorns to burn their final two timeouts quickly by gaining a first down on his second carry of the drive with just 1:40 left in the game.
Roswell was then forced into a fourth-and-10 when Kwateng bounced outside, and was knocked out of bounds with 38 seconds to play, giving Lambert the ball back following the punt with 32.6 seconds left.
The Longhorns’ offense failed to gain anything on their first two plays, but Maxwell hit Russell with a pass the team had to have.
"It was a dogfight," Sid Maxwell said. "We have a great group of kids who are a very close knit group, and they did not hang their heads at any point. We missed the extra point, but we came back and executed when we needed to."
Lambert will travel to Northview Friday.