Shakopee free safety Connor Raines took part in the game's deciding play — Farmington's final attempt at a game-winning touchdown.
Quarterback Alex Berreth took the ball with 6.7 seconds left and his team trailing by one point. He rolled left and threw about 20 yards toward the end zone.
Raines wasn't covering the intended receiver, so he watched as inches became miles and seconds lasted hours.
"I saw it was a little high and as soon as the ball hit the crossbar, I checked the clock and it was at zeros," Raines said. "It was the best feeling in the world."
Shakopee, on the wrong end of so many close losses this season, prevailed 22-21 to clinch a first-round victory in the Class 6A playoffs.
No. 4 seed Shakopee (4-5) fought well against a tough slate of foes. The Sabers lost to Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Prior Lake and Edina by eight or fewer points.
"We're battle-tested," Raines said. "We've had one of the hardest schedules in the entire state, and it just shows that we're here to play."
Shakopee coach Ray Betton said all those close calls made his players a little too confident.
"When you play those premier teams all close, the mind-set of the kids is 'We're going to walk in and do that,' " Betton said. "You could see it all week. But I knew Farmington would wake us up."
Ahead 9-0 early in the second quarter, Shakopee got its wake-up call on the next Farmington drive.
Berreth hit Eli Green for a 70-yard score and it was game on. Shakopee answered with Jack Casey's 1-yard end zone plunge. But No. 5 seed Farmington (5-4) came right back to cut its deficit to 16-14 on a 55-yard Berreth touchdown pass to Isaac Ask.
The Tigers went ahead 21-16 in the third quarter on a 95-yard scoring drive.
"We had to drive the full length of the field so much," Tigers coach Adam Fischer said. "We couldn't get a short field."
Raines gave his team optimal field position at a key moment in the fourth quarter with his punt return to Farmington's 22-yard line. Quarterback David Bigaouette later scored on a 1-yard run for a 22-21 Sabers lead.
Fischer said he never considered trying a field goal. A team enjoying its first winning season since 2012 would not deviate.
"If we're going to go down, we're going to go down with our offense," Fischer said. "I thought we had a good chance. If we throw it a little bit sooner, we might have it."