Bulldogs victorious in 3OT road thriller at Jackson Heights
A ho-hum football game turned into a thriller in a hurry Monday at Jackson Heights as McLouth High battled the host Cobras through not one, not two, but three overtimes.
JHHS was on offense first in the decisive third OT and even though prep football rules give each team the ball at their opponents' 10-yard line at the beginning of each extra-period possession, the home team declined to kick a field goal and instead went for a touchdown.
McLouth stuffed the JHHS run on fourth down, setting up a score-and-go-home scenario for the Bulldogs.
And they did just that after freshman running back Alex Courtney ran in for a score to give MHS a 27-21 triple overtime victory.
"The kids came out and really stuck with it and finished," MHS coach Chris Stewart said after the victory.
The contest started off in normal fashion with both teams scoring in the first quarter. McLouth's first touchdown came on a three-yard run by senior quarterback Derrick Crouse. But then neither team scored again in regulation.
Stewart thought his team might well have been affected by playing on Monday night. The game, of course, was originally scheduled to be played Friday evening, but JHHS officials called McLouth early that afternoon to inform them the field was in poor condition and the game was postponed.
"Of course, we wanted to play," Stewart said. "We were ready to go on Friday."
The coach said the Bulldogs weren't as ready on Monday.
"We lost a lot of focus over the weekend and that's always something kids have to figure out," he said. "We had a lot of mental mistakes and Jackson Heights did a real good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do."
As evidenced by the 7-7 score through four quarters, Stewart said MHS (2-0) came out flat for the game and was fortunate to go home with a victory.
But overtime might not have been necessary to begin with if MHS senior running back Skyler Terry hadn't been sidelined early in the contest. Before injuring his knee, Terry rushed three times for 45 yards.
The injury might have deflated McLouth initially, but the Bulldogs found new energy when overtime came.
"It really is a different game because you start on the 10-yard line and you have four plays to get it in," Stewart said. "It's a 10-yard battle, which is easier than a 100-yard battle."
McLouth had no trouble conquering the short battlefield. In the first overtime, Crouse hit senior receiver Jarrod Bechard for a five-yard score and then Crouse ran in a two-point conversion to force the second OT. Crouse again found the end zone on the next possession, running five yards for the score. There was some trepidation as MHS failed to score an extra point, but JHHS (0-2) also failed and the game went to triple overtime.
Stewart was proud of the way his team responded and following a long game, now the coaches and players are facing a new challenge in the form of a short week as they prepare for another road contest at Troy this Friday at 7 p.m.
"It's always hard to prepare for one week, let alone just a few days here," he said.