By Alvin Richardson
In a wild and wooly game that featured 14 points scored in the final 37 seconds of regulation, Morgan County lost an overtime thriller to the Walnut Grove Warriors by a final score of 34-31 at Bill Corry Stadium.
Morgan County’s junior quarterback Trent Folds fired a bullet to the back line of the end zone into Seth Robertson’s waiting arms as time expired to force overtime but Walnut Grove prevailed by scoring an overtime touchdown on fourth and goal from the one yard line after Morgan managed only a field goal on their possession.
Defensive coordinator Brett Bell made some comments on the game and said, “I am proud of the effort of our players. One thing you can say about this group is that they will not back down and will play hard on every snap.” Bell continued, “We must improve on starting fast against our opponents. This will be an emphasis in practice because we have put ourselves in a hole the last couple of games on our opening drive.”
The Bulldogs led 21-14 at intermission but Walnut Grove’s running game got going in the third quarter. The Warriors put together a grinding 13 play drive that covered 66 yards, took six minutes off the clock and culminated in an 11 yard touchdown to tie the game with 1:59 left in the period.
On the ensuing kickoff Trent Mizell scooped up a low kickoff and made a nifty return to the Walnut Grove 46. A personal foul on the Warriors moved it to the 32 to set the Bulldogs up in position to take the lead. Three plays later Morgan faced a third and 14 from the 36 but Folds sprinted right and hit Boone Bruce who made a nice catch and run for 16 yards and a first down at the Walnut Grove 20 to put Morgan County in the red zone. Two plays later a deep sack forced the Bulldogs into a long field goal attempt, Finn Williams’ kick fell just short and the game stayed tied at 21-21.
Walnut Grove put their running game back on display and drove 50 yards to the Bulldog 30 yard line, but an interception by Keirreon Farley halted the threat and Morgan regained possession at the 20 with 4:40 left in the game. The Dogs wound up with a fourth and two at their 28 and Coach Bill Malone rolled the dice by going for it. Folds threw a dart to Jordan Huff who picked up seven yards and a first down and Morgan retained possession. A personal foul hurt the cause on the next series of downs forcing a Bulldog punt from their 15 and Walnut Grove got the ball back inside MCHS territory at the 45 with just 1:21 left in the game. They went wide twice for six yards. On third down they popped a trap out the backside for 39 yards and the go ahead score with only 37 seconds left in the contest. At that point it looked like the Dogs were doomed.
But this one wasn’t over quite yet.
Walnut Grove bounced a kickoff up the middle and the Dogs took over at their 43. On first down Trent Folds hit Jordan Huff on a slant route and the Georgia Tech commit cut across the field and made a dazzling run covering 48 yards to the Walnut Grove nine yard line with 20 seconds left. Folds scrambled but only picked up a yard on first down. After a time out Morgan had only nine seconds left and an incomplete pass took the clock down to five seconds. With time enough for one play Folds found Seth Robertson on the back line of the end zone for six points as time expired and Finn Williams hit the all-important PAT to send the game to overtime.
Walnut Grove won the coin toss and elected to go on defense first (high school rules for overtime are essentially the same as college except that high schools start at the 15 yard line.) The Dogs lost seven yards on three plays including a procedure penalty and had to call on Finn Williams again to attempt a 39 yard field goal. The senior came through with a clutch kick and Morgan County led 31-28.
Walnut Grove went on offense and picked up a first down in three plays and advanced to the six. They picked up five more yards on first down and were knocking on the door at the one yard line. The Bulldog defensive unit rose up and didn’t yield an inch on the next two plays to force a fourth and goal from the one. With the game on the line Walnut Grove decided against a field goal (which would have sent the game into a second overtime) and went wide on fourth down for the game winner.
In the first half Walnut Grove struck first after a 67 yard run set them up inside Morgan’s 10 yard line and they scored on a two yard run to take a 7-0 lead. Morgan countered with three straight touchdowns from there to vault out in front 21-7. The first of those scores came on a 34 yard touchdown pass from Trent Folds to Jordan Huff at the 1:29 mark of the opening quarter to tie the score at 7-7. Morgan took their first lead of the game by driving 47 yards in seven plays and finishing it off with a two yard run from Keirreon Farley. That march was keyed by an 11 yard run from Justin Hubbard, an 11 yard screen pass to Jordan Huff an 11 yard run from Kobridgette Lumpkin and a 12 yard swing pass to Farley. Morgan led 14-7 with 10:02 left in the second quarter. The Bulldogs added to their lead after the Warriors fumbled and Jordan Huff pounced on it at the Walnut Grove 32. Three plays later Lumpkin squirted through the line and scooted 28 yards to make it 21-7 with 7:24 left in the half but Walnut Grove countered with a 98 yard return on the ensuing kickoff to make it 21-14 and set up the dramatic second half.
Morgan County is 1-2 on the season and will travel to Oconee County next Friday night to take on another set of Warriors. Game time in Watkinsville is 7:30.
Morgan County vs Walnut Grove Score by Quarters
Walnut Grove 7 7 7 7 6 34
Morgan County 7 14 0 7 3 31
Morgan County vs Walnut Grove Yardage Stats
Walnut Grove 285 7 292
Morgan County 107 195 302
Morgan County vs Walnut Grove Key Offensive Stats
Passing Comp. / Att. Yards Touchdowns
Trent Folds 17 / 29 195 2
Rushing Yards Attempts Yds. Per Carry TD’s
Kobridgette Lumpkin 58 11 5.3 1
Justin Hubbard 34 9 3.8 0
Keirreon Farley 14 3 4.7 1
Receiving Receptions Yards Yds. / Catch TD’s
Jordan Huff 9 130 14.4 1
Kobridgette Lumpkin 4 28 14.0 0
Seth Robertson 4 10 2.5 1
Boone Bruce 1 16 16.0 0
Keirreon Farley 1 11 11.0 0
Kicking FG’s PAT’s Total Points
Finn Williams 1 / 2 (39 yds.) 4 / 4 7
Morgan County vs Walnut Grove Key Defensive Stats
Player Solos Assists TFL Sack Int. PBU Other
David Williams 7 5 1 1 0 0 QBH
Jordan Huff 6 5 0 0 0 0 FR
Donovan Caswell 5 7 0 0 0 0
Denver Laughlin 6 5 0 0 0 0
Jitavius Peters 3 5 2 0 0 0 QBH
Cole Freeman 4 5 0 0 0 0
D.J. Jones 1 6 0 0 0 0
Chris Walls 1 3 1 0 0 0 QBH
Keirreon Farley 3 0 0 0 1 0
(Note: QBH = Quarterback hit / FR = Fumble Recovery)