By R. Alan Richardson
Riding a high and an 8-0 record going into the Piedmont Area Conference Playoffs, lightning struck in the way of the big play to halt the MCMS football team’s quest for a conference championship. The first round of the playoffs was played at Morgan County with the Dogs as the number one seed facing off with long-time rival Putnam County.
Morgan wasted no time getting on the board on their first possession when the Dogs connected on a long pass down to the ten yard line. The next play saw quarterback Denver Laughlin bounce outside on an off-tackle play that scored. Kobridgette Lumpkin took in the two-point conversion to take the 8-0 lead. Putnam answered on a two-play drive that ended in a 65 yard pass play and a two-point conversion to tie things up at 8-8.
The boys dominated the next several minutes on the clock with a 14 play drive, but with fourth and four on the 12 came up short and gave it up on downs. The War Eagles were pinned down, but somehow again hooked up on a 99 yard touchdown pass with 59.8 seconds in the first quarter to take the lead. After the two-point conversion it was 16-8 in favor of the bad guys.
The team took the next onside kick and drove deep into their own territory before an interception that halted the drive. Putnam fumbled on the Morgan ten and the Dogs capitalized with a touchdown by Lumpkin from the two. The two-point try failed and the Dogs trailed 16-14 with 6:16 left in the half.
Putnam was game and took the next possession after the kickoff down to their 28 before fumbling on a sweep. Morgan took it from there and scored when Lumpkin again scored on some tough running. The PAT was no good and the Dogs took a slim 20-16 lead into the intermission.
After a fumble by the War Eagles to start the second half, the Puppies stuck it in with Zemarrion Little racing in from the 39 yard line. It looked like the momentum had shifted in Morgan’s favor. After Noah Brown punched in the two-point try, it was Morgan 28-16 with 7:01 left in the third. There was still a lot of football to play.
The War Eagles again went on a lengthy drive that resulted in a quarterback keeper to score six. The two-point conversion was a melee with an inadvertent whistle, a false start, a broken up pass with another penalty. The two points were eventually no good and Putnam trailed by a mere six points at 28-22 with 3:00 remaining in the third stanza.
Things got even crazier after that in the fourth. Putnam put on a long drive of 13 plays after they intercepted an errant pass and scored to tie the score at 28-28. It was obvious on the two-point attempt when the running back fumbled the football into the end zone on purpose (which is a no-no) and was called for a penalty.
Morgan received the kickoff, but fumbled on second down and Putnam recovered. The War Eagles got a first down with 8.3 seconds and grounded the ball to have one last gasp before overtime. On third and eight, the Putnam quarterback heaved a Hail Mary into the end zone that was caught with 1.0 seconds remaining. The final score was 34-28 after the PAT was good and it was lights out. It reminded all attending of another Bulldog team at UGA and some of their outcomes over the past few years. It was a heart breaking end to an otherwise great season. Congratulations to all the coaches and players for a season you should all be proud of.