MINFORD — In what was a highly anticipated matchup between two unbeaten teams, the Minford Falcons and the Oak Hill Oaks did not disappoint in front of a large crowd at Minford Stadium. In a triple-overtime thriller, the Falcons (5-0) were able to come out on top of the Oaks (4-1), 20-19.
Two touchdowns in a 1:20 second time frame set the tone early for Oak Hill. Starting running back Wes Harden, who finished the game with 140 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns, scored both touchdowns, handing the Oaks a quick 13-0 lead.
Minford, who struggled early offensively, turned to their defense as a spark plug. With Oak Hill driving once again with a 13-0 lead, Falcons cornerback, Jack White, stepped in-front of a pass from Drew Haislop for the interception.
Minford capitalized off the turnover, a nine-play drive ended with senior running back Sean Berry punching it in the end zone from 12-yards for the score, cutting the Oaks lead to 13-7 right before half.
Berry finished the evening with 92 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns.
With the lead at six, both teams battled in the third quarter without scoring. In the quarter both teams combined for one turnover, two turnover-on-downs and two punts as neither team gave an inch on the field.
However, the Falcons finally broke through in the fourth quarter. A 12-play drive was capped off by running back Austin Carter, tying the game at 13-13. With the chance to take the lead, a costly missed extra point left the score at 13-13 with 8:31 remaining in the game.
Carter finished the game with 58 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown.
With both teams exchanging punts, Oak Hill looked as if they were on the verge of winning the game. With just over three minutes remaining, Haislop saw a wide open Ryan Gaines cutting up the sideline.
The two connected for 62-yards and with just over two minutes remaining they were 23-yards from taking the lead. However, on the very next play the Oaks fumbled the ball and the Falcons recovered.
Minford was unable to take advantage of the turnover as both teams entered overtime tied at 13-13.
With the Falcons turning the ball over on downs in the first overtime, Oak Hill had a chance to win the game. Harden who missed an extra point attempt in the first quarter, lined up for a game winning 28-yard field goal.
The kick fell short as both teams remained unbeaten and headed to the second overtime.
After deferring the coin toss for the first OT, the Oaks got the ball. Harden continued to bully his way towards the goal line. On a second-and-goal Harden broke free of what seemed like a game leading score.
However, a penalty prevented the score. On the very next play from scrimmage, Haislop lobbed a pass to the corner of the end zone, only to find the hands of Minford’s cornerback, Zack Farrar.
The momentum shifted in favor of the Falcons, who needed to score to win the ball game. However, it just seemed that both teams took no for an answer.
Twenty yards from victory, Minford lined up their first play in double-overtime. Soon enough the ball was laying on the ground and the Falcons fumbled for the fourth time of the ball game as Oak Hill recovered.
The game headed to a third overtime. Minford’s Berry put all doubts in the home crowds mind to rest as he had a 3-yard score on a second-and-goal. After an extra point attempt the Falcons lead 20-13.
The Oaks had one more chance to answer and force a fourth overtime. After two short runs from Harden and an incomplete pass from Haislop, Oak Hill was down to their final play.
On a fourth-and-four, Haislop dropped back and tossed it to the end zone. The pass play was broken up as Minford and the home crowd began to celebrate. Luckily for the Oaks it was a night that seemed like it was never going to end.
A yellow flag laid in the end zone as pass interference call gave the Oaks a first-and-goal on the 7-yard line.
Devon Davis, who finished with 104 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown, punched it in from four yards cutting the lead to 20-19.
Oak Hills offensive unit stayed on the field and was going for the win with a 2-point conversion. The Oaks lined up but right before they snapped the ball another yellow flag laid on the ground. This time in favor for Minford as the Oaks had a delay of game.
The penalty forced Harden to attempt a game tying extra point.
The kick was blocked by the Falcons line making the final 20-19 as Minford survived a triple-overtime clash staying unbeaten.
Oak Hill 13 0 0 0 0 6 19
Minford 0 7 0 0 0 7 21
2:31 O- Harden 2 run (Harden kick) 7-0
1:11 O- Harden 3 run (Kick fail) 13-0
2:04 M- Berry 12 run (Moore kick) 13-7
8:31 M- Carter 7 run (Kick fail) 13-13
M- Berry 3 run (Moore kick) 20-13
O- Davis 4 run (Kick blocked) 20-19
Oak Hill Minford
First Downs 14 12
Total Net Yards 361 248
Rushes-yards 53-251 45-209
Passing 110 71
Comp-Att-Int 6-19-2 4-11-0
Punts-yards 5-37.4 5-35.6
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-4
Penelties-yards 7-59 4-37