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After East Middle School shocked West last season, the Warriors got a little revenge.
With the score tied at 8, the West marched down the field during the last three minutes and scored with 9.4 seconds remaining beat to beat its longtime rival, 16-8.
“It was really a good game,” West Coach Roy Bailey said. “We were just fortunate enough to pull it out at the end.”
The victory gave West Middle (7-2, 5-2 in the conference) the Mid Bluegrass Conference title, and East Middle (5-5, 4-3) finished in fourth. East opened the fourth quarter with long drive behind the play of quarterback Dalton Thompson.
“His leadership, especially on that last drive, was above and beyond,” East Coach Don Hudson. “We put together a nice long drive, and Dalton was able to run it in for the touchdown.”
Thompson then threw to Jayon Winstead for the two-point conversion that tied the score at 8.
But the Missiles left just a few too many seconds on the clock.
“They forced us to drive the length of the field, and we had struggled a little through the rest of the game,” Bailey said. “We had moved the ball pretty well, but some passes we should’ve connected on and didn’t, or some penalties kept stopping us.”
On that last drive, Bailey said the team was able to ride behind running back Deandre Ferris and quarterback Lawson Page.
“We were able to get Deandre outside on some sweeps, and Lawson made some nice runs in the open field,” he said.
East, however, almost forced overtime.
With just 25 seconds left, the Missiles’ Edwin Padilla came up with what looked like a game-saving interception, but the officials ruled that the ball had hit the ground.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he had it, but unfortunately the official was behind him and didn’t have a good angle,” Hudson said. “He caught it at ground level, but it was a tough call to make. I just told the kids, we can’t change it. Let’s make another play.”
But it was West that made the next big play.
With just a few seconds remaining, Page hit Nathan Sames for the winning TD. The quarterback then scampered in for the two-point conversion that set the final score.
“I would rather have lost in overtime,” Hudson said. “The kids battled so hard to come back. But it was a great game. I thought we created a lot of excitement and buzz.”
Bailey said his team was happy to escape with the victory.
“We were fortunate to connect at the end,” he said. “We knew it would be a good game.”
West took the lead early in the first quarter, scoring on its opening drive when Farris ran for a touchdown.