South Stokes varsity football team gave fans a thrilling double overtime 39-38 win against the Trinity Bulldogs Thursday evening, the Sauras first win on their home turf since Sept. 6, 2013.
“I’m just really happy for our kids and especially the seniors,” said Sauras coach Mike Holmes. “They haven’t won a home varsity football game in their careers. This was a special win for them. They have done everything we have asked and bought into what the program is doing. The football will be put up in the field house honoring this game for them.”
In the first quarter Adam McMillian returned the ball 40-yards to put his team on the board. Ivan Caro connected on the extra-point and the Sauras held a 7-0 lead.
The maroon and gold defense forced a three-out on the first series for Trinity and the Sauras took possession back on their 15-yard line. South used 10 plays and drove 85-yards in a little over four minutes. Quarterback Austin Lilly found Zack Slate for a six-yard touchdown reception. Again, Caro hit the point after and the team’s lead grew to 14-0 with 2:04 left in the period.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board to start the second quarter with a 25-yard field goal from Caleb Parrish three plays into the period.
South responded on their next series with another long drive that covered 50-yards and ended when Caro matched Trinity’s field goal with one of his own from 41-yards out to make the score 17-3 with 7:37 left before the half.
Trinity answered the Sauras with another score right before the half. After the extra-point, South led 17-10 going into the locker room.
The Bulldogs opened up the third quarter with a quick five play drive ending with a 15-yard run by Gage Taylor. The extra-point proved good, knotting the score at 17 with 9:38 to play in the period.
The defense stiffened for the Sauras and forced the Bulldogs to punt over their next four possessions of the game. During the stance, South scored on their first series of the fourth quarter from McMillian’s 12-yard run and Caro’s point after for a 24-17 lead.
The Sauras looked to run the ball and melt the clock away for the win, but an improbable fumble on Trinity’s 45-yard line gave the Bulldogs one last hope. With 60 seconds left on the clock, they scored with Tyler Hammond’s pass over the middle of the field and the point after by Parrish sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Bulldogs received the ball first and scored on a 10-yard run. South countered Trinity’s score, but not without drama. The Sauras first two plays resulted in negative yardage forcing them into a third and 17. Lilly rolled out and found Ryan Moses in the back corner of the end zone to knot the game and force another overtime period after Caro’s extra-point.
In the second overtime, the Bulldogs went first on offense. This time they scored from two yards out on third down. The extra-point was good and the Sauras awaited their turn from the 10-yard line. On the first play, McMillian picked up no yards, but a penalty on the Bulldogs moved the ball to the five-yard line. On second down, McMillian hit pay dirt from five yards out making the score 38-37. Lining up for the extra-point, coach Holmes decided on a timeout.
“I saw on previous extra-point tries they were coming hard off of the edges,” stated the coach. “We believe in our kids, so we decided to go all out and go for the win.”
The Sauras lined up as if they were kicking an extra-point, but place holder Avery Wood, rolled out for a called pass play.
“I was really anxious,” said Wood with a smile. “I looked for the waggle pass, but the flow of the play had it covered, so I tucked it and ran.”
Wood’s score sent a celebration through the stands and put fans on their feet.
“We’re learning how to win,” Holmes said. “A lot of good things are happening here at South and we need to continue to build on them.”
The Sauras totaled 305 yards of offense with a balanced attack between 151 passing yards and 154 rushing yards. McMillan had 97 rushing yards on 18 carries, two touchdowns and 46 receiving yards on three catches.
Defensively for South, Steven Fatz added 11 tackles, Nolan Warren and PT Fischer contributed nine each, and Kaleb Bratton tallied eight. Garrett Dodson added six tackles and two sacks.
South Stokes (1-2) will travel to Alleghany (2-0) next Friday for a non-conference match-up.
“They’re a big, tough and physical group and like to pound it between the tackles,” Holmes said. “We’re going to give it our best shot.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.