GALLATIN A 4-yard run from Jordan Mason sealed a 50-49 overtime victory for Gallatin over visiting Henry County.
Five things that led to the Green Wave’s triumph:
Punch and counterpunch
The game was a back-and-forth contest that saw five lead changes. After Gallatin took a 14-13 lead in the second quarter on a 10-yard pass by Colin Minor to Dezmond Chambers, Seven Stewart returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for Henry County to retake the lead.
Gallatin responded with 15 unanswered points to end the first half. Henry County came back by outscoring Gallatin 24-7 in the fourth quarter, before the Green Wave’s game-tying drive in the final seconds.
On Mason’s shoulders
Gallatin’s workhouse running back, Jordan Mason, continued to have a big performance, rushing for 262 yards on 32 carries and three touchdowns – with 197 of those yards coming in the first half. With less than a minute remaining in the second quarter, Mason broke free for a 60-yard scamper that gave the Green Wave a 29-19 lead heading into halftime.
“We’ve practiced for this all summer,” Mason said. “This team has been together and worked together. Tonight, we decided to just come together and we came out with the ‘W.’ Henry County is one of the best teams we face, so I know if we can beat them, we can beat anybody in our district.”
While Mason was limited to 65 yards in the second half, quarterback Collin Minor carried the offense with 133 yards in the air. Minor connected on a 70-yard pass to Chambers early in the fourth quarter. Trailing 43-36 late in regulation, Minor directed a 63-yard drive, connecting on all three of his passes. A 9-yard strike to Marcus DeVault in the final seconds sent the game into overtime. Minor finished with 171 passing yards and four touchdowns.
“We knew that play action was going to be big for us,” Gallatin head coach Mark Williams said. “Their defense just flows extremely fast, and we were just able to pick up some first downs and big plays tonight, and a lot of that was off play action.”
Penalties give Patriots life
Holding on to a 36-35 lead late in the 4th quarter, Williams elected to punt on a fourth-and-1 at the 50-yard line when a first down could have helped clinch the victory.
However, two penalties by Gallatin on the punt gave the Patriots a short field. Three plays later, Henry County retook the lead after an 18-yard run from quarterback Savon Stewart.
“We knew we had a timeout left with a little over two minutes left in the game,” Williams said. “We didn’t feel like giving them field position at that point, by going for it on fourth down, so we opted to punt there and set them back. We’ve got to correct those penalties there, but we’ll get back on Monday and work on that.”
Prepared for battle
Williams commented on the resiliency of his team and pointed to preparation in practice that helped his team continue to respond throughout the game. “I’m proud of our guys in the way they stepped up in situations, and those are situations that we’ve practiced. We practice on quick turnarounds and change of possessions and things like that where we’ve got to respond and answer and that’s what our kid did. It shows that those things in practice works. We talk about our kids not necessarily reacting to situations, but responding.”