Unfortunately for the Jags, Lamar County twins Lance and Lawrence Austin led the Trojans down the field in the final minutes of regulation and Lamar kicker Tyler Scandrett booted a 22-yard field goal with no time left to tie the Jags at 3-3 Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Since the game was a non-region contest, head coaches Nick Davis of Spalding and Franklin Stephens of Lamar County had to agree to play any overtime periods. They both decided to settle for the tie and an 0-0-1 record to start the 2012 season.
Late in the fourth quarter, Lamar — No. 2 state-ranked in Class AA — went for it on fourth-down and two but Spalding defensive back Garrett Bell broke through the line and stopped tailback Lawrence Austin for a 1-yard gain, giving the ball back to the Jags offense on the Lamar 35 yard line at the 5:33 mark.
But Lamar tightened up on defense and Spalding was forced to punt after three plays. The Trojans started their final drive of the game at their own 20 with 3:50 left in regulation and that’s when the Austin brothers, with help from senior running back Sidarius Gotell, went to work. Lance Austin, the Trojans’ quarterback, ran for 32 yards on the first play of their final drive, getting into Spalding territory.
The Trojans made it to the Spalding 30-yard line facing a 3rd and 6 as time dwindled down. That’s when Lawrence Austin (15 carries, 141 yards rushing) broke a tackle and scampered 19 yards for a first down at the Spalding 11.
But the Jags’ defense held firm, like they did all night, and Lamar called its second timeout with 2.5 seconds remaining. That was plenty of time for Scandrett to kick the game-tying field goal as the horn sounded, ending the game. The Austins rushed for 59 yards on that final drive.
Both teams defenses were strong in the first half, as neither teams’ offenses could get going. The Jags ventured into Trojans territory late in the second quarter, using perfect clock management to get to the Lamar 18 with 10.9 seconds left until halftime. Spalding’s Jake Jeffcoat then booted a 35-yard field goal to give Spalding the 3-0 lead.
Spalding’s Brandon Thomas was the workhorse in the backfield for the Jags, rushing for 73 yards on 19 carries and catching four passes for 35 yards. The defense was stellar, as Devontez Carter, Jake Jeffcoat, Anthony Bush, Larry McCord and others made several big plays all night long.
Lamar County outgained Spalding 273-144 on total yards.
Spalding’s next game is a home contest Friday, Sept. 7 against non-region foe Rutland.