PONTOTOC – On the leg of senior kicker Austin Rainwater, South Pontotoc overcame an early two touchdown deficit to out-duel Mantachie 35-34 in overtime Friday night and stay perfect on the young season.
Tied at 28 to end regulation, the Mustangs scored a quick touchdown to open the overtime period but missed the crucial extra point. Cougar sophomore quarterback Wesley Ross, who accounted for three touchdowns, responded when he hit Kaleb Morgan for the tying touchdown.
Rainwater then calmly kicked the game-winning point after and the home crowd went wild.
“Both teams battled the whole game, but we came out with the win,” Ross said. “We made some mistakes at the beginning, but we came back, kept our cool and won.”
Mantachie (2-1) took an early 14-0 lead when Dustin Carrell connected with Nick Burns for a 55-yard score followed one series later by an Austin Dill 75-yard punt return.
The Cougars (3-0) countered in the second quarter with a powerful run attack as they marched 56 yards in 13 plays and found the end zone when Josh Estes hit pay dirt from two yards out to cut the lead in half.
The teams traded blows down the stretch as Carrell hit Byrd for another passing score, while, on the ensuing possession, Armon Gregory weaved through the Mantachie secondary for 68-yards down to the Mustang 20. Three plays later, Ross hit Tucker Babb for a 20-yard strike as South Pontotoc went into the half trailing 21-14.
back and forth
Gregory once again gashed the Mantachie defense in the second half as he broke free for a 68-yard run that tied the game less than three minutes into the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Hunter Jolly recovered a fumble at the Mantachie 20 that the Cougars capitalized on four plays later when Ross hit Morgan for a 34-yard scored to give South Pontotoc its first lead of the night.
The Mustangs took it to overtime when, after a Clay Johnson juggling catch on a fourth-and-6 at the 15, Carrell dovehome from 2 yards out with 1:45 remaining.
“They came in undefeated and were playing really, really well,” South Pontotoc coach Roger Chism said. “We just wanted to show folks we could play well and we did.”