By Logan Lowery
BRUCE – In a critical Division 4-2A battle, Okolona and Bruce went into the fourth quarter tied at 13.
The two teams battling for playoff positioning each piled up points in the final quarter, going into overtime tied 33-33. The host Trojans forced overtime with a 1-yard touchdown run by Donta Armstrong and extra point with 38 seconds remaining in regulation.
But it would be the visiting Chieftains who spoiled Bruce’s homecoming by stopping a 2-point conversion run by Jay Johnson to hold on for a 41-39 victory.
“Both teams were back and forth all night,” Okolona coach Jack Clark said. “Nobody ever really jumped out to a big lead. It was just a great high school football game. The kids on both sides should be proud of their effort.”
Okolona received the ball first in overtime and scored on a 5-yard run by J.C. Buchanan. Dequin Babbit dove into the end zone for the two-point conversion.
Bruce (6-3, 2-2) took its turn in overtime with Armstrong scoring on 4-yard keeper.
But the Okolona defense would deny Johnson a yard shy of the goal line to improve to 5-3 on the year and clinch a playoff berth at 2-1 in district play.
“It was close,” Clark said. “You knew when it went into overtime it was probably going to come down to one yard and it did. I don’t even know who made the play I was so caught up in the moment but our overall effort won the game.”
Both teams returned kickoffs for touchdowns following a score. Buchanan had a 92-yard return in the first quarter for Okolona while Johnson countered with an 84-yard score in the fourth.
The Chieftains had only two offensive possessions in the first half and ran only 12 plays but had 149 yards topping Bruce’s 144 yards on 34 plays.