OXFORD, Alabama -- The 6A Oxford Yellow Jackets scored in overtime and on the two-point conversion to get the win against 7A Central-Phenix City on Lamar Field on Friday night. In overtime, Central scored first with a touchdown and kicked the extra point, but Oxford scored the touchdown and went for the game winning two point conversion.
Central-Phenix City (6-4) thought that they won the game in overtime, but a roughing the passer call gave the Oxford offense new life in and the Yellow Jackets made the most of it with the two scores in overtime for the non-conference win. "This is a great team win, for us to fight back and win this game at the end is a testament to these kids heart," said Yellow Jackets Head coach Keith Etheredge. "I'm proud of all these guys for all the work that they have put in and this is the fruit of their labor."
Both defenses played well in the first quarter, but with only :16 seconds left in the quarter, Central scored first in the game on a Trey Miles to Karmello English 12-yard touchdown pass play for the score. With the touchdown, the Red Devils led 7-0. Zion Morris and Miles had big runs for the Red Devils on this scoring drive.
After the score, Trequon Fegans kick return sets up the Oxford offense around midfield after the Cental touchdown. On the next play Trey Higgins found Joshua Patton over the middle for a big pickup in the Red Devils territory. On the next play, Oxford fumbled and defensive lineman Jamory Jones gets the fumble recovery for the Red Devils. A few plays later, Miles goes deep to English for a 44-yard touchdown pass play for the Red Devils. With the score, Central led 14-0 with 10:21 left in the second quarter.
After the score, the Central defense forced a three and out and the Red Devils had good field position again on a short Oxford punt. Central takes the ball but Rodricus Elston picks off a Red Devils pass and puts the Oxford offense in good field position after the interception. A few plays later, Oxford kicks a 29-yard field goal and Oxford cut the lead to 14-3 with 4:58 left in the half.
In the second half, the Red Devils defense turned in a score. With 10:06 left in the third quarter, defensive lineman Tomarrion Parker had a scope and score to give Central a 21-3 lead to open up the second half. The Central defense forced another punt and the Red Devils were moving the ball but fumbled and Trequon Fegans picked up the loose ball for the Yellow Jackets and the momentum seemed to shift to Oxford after this turnover. "The defense was huge in the second half," said Etheredge. "They played great in the second half. Coach Cochran made some great adjustments at halftime."
With 2:51 left in the third quarter, Higgins connected with Roc Thomas on a 36-yard touchdown reception for a Yellow Jackets score. Thomas used a one-hand grab for the touchdown and Oxford cut the Central lead to 21-9. The two-point conversion failed but Oxford was back in the game. After the kickoff, Central had problems on fielding the kick and Keenechi Titi dove on the loose ball and Oxford was in scoring position again.
With time expiring the end the third quarter Superman (Higgins) used his legs and scrambled for 10 seconds and somehow found Warren Britt in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. With the score, the Central lead was down to 21-16. "I just didn't want to go down," said Yellow Jackets QB Higgins. "I knew I had to find a playmaker and get the ball in their hands so they would do their job and make plays. I think this will show we can play with anyone. I love my boys and will go to war with them."
The Oxford defense played big in the second quarter and gave the offense another shot for the lead late in the game. With 2:35 left in the fourth quarter, Higgins saw Etheredge on a 22-yard touchdown pass play and Oxford took the first lead of the game. Late in the game, the Yellow Jackets led 24-21. "I have to give all Glory to God and to my defense because without them, we wouldn't have been in that game," said Higgins. "I fumbled twice and that is on me and I'm going to get that fixed but our whole team stayed in it. I told them last year when we are down, we are not out of it. That is the heart of this team that we are not going to give up until the clock hits zero. This is our senior year and we want to go out with a bang."
Central though was not done. Miles put the Red Devils offense on his back and tried to get a score late in the game and he did. With a fourth down play, Miles scrambled to his left and found TJ Miles on a big 20-yard pass play for a Central first down and it kept the drive alive. Central was down deep into the red zone but had to settle for a game tying field goal. With only :13 seconds left in the game, Noah Pell kicked a 23-yard field goal to tie the game and that was huge for Central. A great two minute drive in for the Red Devils to force overtime.
Central had the ball first and on the first play, Joseph McKay scores on a 10-yard touchdown run to give Central the 31-24 lead. Oxford took the ball and was forced into a 4th and 20 play in the overtime and on that play the Red Devils were flagged for a roughing the passer call that gave Oxford a automatic first down. Higgins found Etheredge in the middle of the field for a touchdown and the Yellow Jackets were only down one point in overtime. Oxford decided to end the game on a two-point conversion and they did it with a Higgins to Britt pass and a successful two-point conversion to win the game for Oxford.
Higgins finished the game completing 14-of-23 passing for 200 yards and four touchdowns with 55 yards on 19 carries in the game. "You are never out of it when you have a guy like Trey taking the snaps," added Etheredge. "He is going to make plays for us and throw it to the open guy. Were trying to get the ball to Roc and he reads that safety that flies out and twice throws the ball where it needed to be and Cameron made two great catches."
Oxford has down at the half, but not out of it and turned it around in the second half. "We were beating ourselves in the first half," said Higgins. "It was frustrating, but you know if you can fix that, your good after that. We showed a lot of heart and fixed some things and it started clicking for us."
Up next for both teams, Oxford will host Minor in Class 6A and Central will host Fairhope in Class 7A in the first round of the playoffs.