Junior Hornets win opener on last play thriller
Marked Tree (0-1) and Harrisburg (1-0) fought back and forth all night so it was no surprise it came down to the last play of the game to decide a winner. Harrisburg's Clay Wright hit Weston Stanford with a game tying touchdown as time expired then passed to Dylan Mathis whose dove across the goal line for the two-point conversion try giving Harrisburg a 28-26 win last Thursday night in Marked Tree.
The Junior Indians got the ball first but an Issac Brown fumble was recovered by Walker Brown giving Harrisburg the ball on the Marked Tree 35-yard line with 6:26 left. Wright wasted little time as he hooked up with Gavin Casebier for a 29-yard touchdown with 5:52 left making it 6-0 Junior Hornets. The two-point conversion was no good. Julian Booker gave Marked Tree good field position returning the kickoff out to the Harrisburg 49-yard line. Paul Coleman tied the game up on the first play going 49 yards for the Marked Tree score making it 6-6 with 5:22 left in the corner. The two-point try was unsuccessful. Wright connected with Mathis on a 12 yard touchdown pass with 2:47 left to make it 12-6. The two-point conversion was again no good leaving the score at 12-6 Harrisburg.
Issac Brown scored on a 10 yard run early in the second quarter to tie the game up at 12-12. Gavin Lowery passed to #3 for the two-point conversion to make it 14-12 Junior Indians with 7:53 left in the second quarter. A bad snap puts the ball on the ground for Harrisburg with Issac Brown recovering for Marked Tree giving the Junior Indians the ball on the Harrisburg 44-yard line. Harrisburg took advantage of a short punt driving down the field where Wright found Casebier with an 11 yard touchdown pass with 2:26 left. Wright runs in for the two-point conversion to make it 18-14 Junior Hornets. Marked Tree tied the game with 3:20 left as ?? scored. The two-point pass play was no good leaving the score at 20-20.
The third quarter saw the teams trade possessions with neither being able to put any points on the board. The teams went the final quarter still tied at 20-20.
The first six minutes of the fourth quarter was a repeat of the third quarter as neither team's offense found the end zone. Marked Tree was able to break the tie with a 24 yard touchdown run from Booker to make it 26-20. The two-point try was no good. Harrisburg got back to back big runs from Wright to move the ball down to the Junior Indians 10-yard line with seven seconds left. Wright was shaken up and had to come out for a play as Jett Jackson came in and spiked the ball. With six seconds left Wright found Stanford all alone in the corner of the end zone as time expired to tie the game at 26-26. Wright then found Mathis just outside the goal line with Mathis diving across the goal line to give the Junior Hornets the 28-26 win.
"I've been doing this for 25 years and this may have been the best junior high game I've ever saw," Harrisburg coach Sean Hammond said after the game. "Marked Tree has a great running back over there but I can't be more proud of my kids for fighting back like the did...very very exciting and win there with no time on the clock is very special," Hammond added.
Wright completed 13 of 25 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns while adding 100 yards rushing on 10 carries with a two-point conversion run. Mathis finished with 5 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown, Casebier had 5 catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns with Stanford grabbing three balls for 41 yards and a score. Zach Boggard led the defense with 10 tackles and Mathis finished with seven.
"It was a fun game to coach with the score going back and forth," Marked Tree coach Derik Drewett said of the game. "The kids played hard and I don't their effort. It was a good game to start the year, gave us a look of what we need to work on," Drewett said.