By Laura Hyche
The Meridian Star
In a nail biter to the end , the Lamar Raiders showed what they were made of as they beat Presbyterian Christian School 47-41 in double overtime.
Lamar opened the first half as the defense forced a punt on first Bobcat series. Lamar fumbled on the 24 yard line, but on the Bobcat's second play, senior linebacker Lee Martin hauled in an interception at the 12 and ran it back for an 88-yard TD with 8:40 left in the first quarter. The point after by kicker Danny Weisner was good.
The Lamar defense forced a 3-and-out after the kickoff and got the ball back at the 32, but the offense couldn't get anything going and had to punt. PCS got the ball back at their own 35 and connected over the middle for a quick touchdown to answer. With 5:08 to go in the first quarter, the score was 7-7.
Lamar took the ensuing kickoff at the 20, but failed to advance the ball, so they were forced to punt. But the snap was mishandled, and the Bobcats recovered the ball at the Raider 27. The Raider defense stood strong, and when the Bobcats tried a field goal from the 22, they missed. Dodging a bullet, the Raider offense took over at the 20 and put together an impressive drive, highlighted by a long passes from freshman quarterback Davis Harrison to senior receiver Joseph Marcello, junior receiver JD Roberts, and a 4th and 4 first down run by sophomore running back Sam Vaughn. The drive was capped by a 20-yard Lee Martin scoring run. The extra point was blocked, so with 9:57 left in the second quarter, the Raiders led 13-7.
PCS received the ensuing kickoff and ran it all the way to the 10. Junior Richard Covington saved the touchdown, but the Bobcats were able to run it in on the next play. The extra point was good, and the Bobcats quickly took the lead 14 - 13 at the 9:36 mark in the second quarter.
After stopping the next Raider drive, the Bobcats went back to work. A long run got the Bobcats back in business, and they continued to use a strong ground game to give them a first and goal which they converted into another PCS touchdown. The PAT made it 21-13 with 6:03 left in the 2nd.
With a minute left in the half, the Bobcats managed one more TD off of another Lamar turnover, leaving a halftime score of 28-13.
After receiving the second half opening kickoff, Lamar started with the ball on the 20. On the second play though, the Raiders fumbled, and the Bobcats recovered. The defense held them to a field goal try, but the PCS kicker made it good. The score was now 31 - 13 with 9:18 in the 3rd. Things were looking pretty bad for the Raiders.
Even so, the Lamar team was not ready to quit. They took the kickoff and ran it out to the 35. A pass to Marcello converted a 4th and 4 across the 50. Sam Vaughn caught another Harrison pass for another 1st down to the 20. Finally, junior receiver JD Roberts scored on a 15 yard pass from Harrison and breathed some life back into the crowd. The Weisner PAT was good making it31 - 20 with 5:05 in the 3rd.
The Bobcats received the kickoff and started at the 37, but a huge sack on 3rd down by Dalton McHenry forced a Bobcat punt which Martin returned to the 43. With big runs by Vaughn and senior Jackson Turner , the Raider offense moved down the field to first and goal from the 5. A TD catch by sophomore receiver Tyler Hinson really got the crowd back in the game. The two-point conversion try failed, but left the score 31 - 26 with 18 seconds remaining in the 3rd.
The Bobcats started the fourth quarter from their 35 after taking the Raider kick. they moved the ball well down to the Raider 35, but could do no more. They lined up for a field goal on fourth down, but it was a fake. The Raider defense was not fooled though, and the Bobcats turned it over on downs at the 26.
This time the offense sputtered, and the Raiders were forced to punt with 7:35 left on the clock. The Bobcats started at their 32, but after converting on a fourth-and-one play at the 42, the Raider defense forced another punt.
The Raiders took the punt on their own 30 with 2:59 left in the game for one last drive. With a first down run, Harrison moved the Raiders to their own 48. Facing a 4th and 9 with 1:38 to go, Harrison unloaded a 52-yard touchdown bomb to Martin, bringing the Raider faithful to their feet. The Raiders lined up for the two- point conversion, and this time, Harrison connected with Sam Vaughn to get the points. The Raiders had the lead now 34 - 31 with 1:38 left.
PCS took the Raider kick at the 20 and immediately completed a 40-yard pass. The Raider defense toughened though, and with 4 seconds on the clock, the Bobcats lined up for a field goal from the 15 to send the game to overtime. The kick was good, and at the end of regulation, the score was tied 34 - 34..
Each team would get an offensive series from the 10-yard line to decide the game. The Raiders got the first shot and scored from 7 yards out on a Harrison pass to Vaughn. Weisner's PAT put the Raiders up by 7. The Bobcats then took their turn at the 10. Two plays later, they ran it in for the score. The PAT was good, tying the score again at 41 - 41.
On the second overtime series, the Bobcats went first. The Bobcats dropped back to pass but Danny Weisner (playing linebacker) picked the pass out of the air and ran it all the way back for an apparent game ending, 95-yard touchdown return. However, after a lengthy conference, the referees decided that the touchdown didn't count as the ball couldn't legally be advanced on a turnover in overtime, and the game would continue.
The Raiders took their turn on offense, and after two short gains, lined up for a field goal on 3rd down. Coach Barnes had one more trick up his sleeve, as QB Harrison took the snap and instead of punting it down for the kick, he tossed it into the waiting arms of Jackson Turner for 6. Final score from Hattiesburg: Lamar 47 PCS 41.
Lamar returns home next Friday to play Russell Christian.