By Jay Tidwell
Special to the Journal
NEW ALBANY – Eathen Rainey didn’t enjoy the experience as much as he would have liked the last time he made a game-winning kick.
He made sure this time he could savor the moment.
Rainey’s 34-yard boot as time expired lifted New Albany to an 11-8 win against Pontotoc on Friday.
Rainey sent one through the same uprights to upset Lafayette in overtime last October.
“It mind sound a little cocky, but the whole time I was thinking about how I was going to celebrate it,” said Rainey, a junior.
“When I did it against Lafayette, I was bent over picking up my tee. I’m really excited about it and can’t believe it.”
The score capped a drive that began at New Albany’s 25-yard line with 52.7 seconds remaining in regulation. Jimmy Baldon took a lateral from Bryce Collins and completed a pass downfield to Robert Franklin for a 45-yard gain to Pontotoc’s 30. Eddie Barry ran for 10 yards, then Baldon ran for three more to set up the kick.
“We told our guys we needed to play 48 minutes in the locker room before we came out,” said New Albany coach Ron Price.
“Who knew it was going to take every second of that to come out of that with a win tonight.”
Pontotoc (1-2) led 8-0 midway through the second quarter. Taylor Lyons sacked Collins in the end zone for a safety. On the following possession, Will Ard completed a 66-yard pass to Donte Freeman for a score with 10:20 remaining in the half.
Later in the period, Chris Brown recovered a fumble to give New Albany (1-2) possession at Pontotoc’s 14. Baldon scored on a 6-yard run two plays later, and Collins added the two-point conversion on a keeper to tie it.
The teams combined for nine turnovers.
“We’re almost inept on offense right now,” said Pontotoc coach Scott Brown.