Jamen Malone admitted that perhaps things were a little too easy Friday in the first quarter, when he and his Armstrong teammates raced out to a 21-point lead. That lead was gone early in the third quarter.
What mattered most, Malone said, was the final score, not how they got there. The scoreboard read Armstrong 34, Chanhassen 29.
"It feels good to overcome the adversity in a game like this," said the senior quarterback. "It feels good to be 5-0."
The outcome wasn't decided until the game's final minute. Chanhassen took its only lead, 29-28, with 3:42 remaining on an electric 37-yard dash by sophomore running back Maxwell Woods. Woods added the two-point conversion on a jet sweep, silencing the large homecoming crowd.
It was the third score of the night for Woods, who rushed for 211 yards.
"That kid is good," Armstrong coach Jack Negen said. "We watched a lot of film on him, but I'll tell you what: He's better in person."
Part of the problem for the Falcons, ranked sixth in Class 5A, was that in taking the big lead they didn't take much time off the clock. Their first-quarter scores were a 95-yard return of the opening kickoff by Marquan Tucker and two short drives that ended with Reggie Carter touchdown runs.
Malone said his offense had little chance to control the clock, allowing Chanhassen to rally.
"We were on the sideline for, like, 10, 12 minutes and couldn't get back out there," he said. "Our drives only took like two plays each."
Malone said he had no doubt the Falcons were going to score when the final drive began. It covered the game's final three minutes, going 66 yards.
"I had faith in our team the whole game," Malone said. "Before the drive, I told the guys, 'This is it. This is the game, right here. We've got to take it and go down field and score.' "
Malone capped the drive by hitting receiver Cade Berg on a 17-yard out route with 22 seconds left.
"I felt so redeemed after the first half," Malone said. "We finally made it back."
Chanhassen, which was ranked fifth in Class 5A, fell to 4-1.