Rebels signal-callers Charlie Moore and Jake Weaver tag teamed Tennessee High in a fourth-quarter comeback that climaxed in a 33-30 Big 8 Conference overtime win at Death Valley.
“Both of our quarterbacks stepped up when they had to and our defense got the stops,” said South coach Sam Haynie, whose players recovered two fumbles in the fourth frame to knock the dagger out of the Vikings’ hands.
Moore completed 12-of-17 of his pass attempts for 139 yards, also rushing for 52 yards on 13 carries with two scoring runs. The Rebels (2-2, 1-1) trailed by eight when Moore capped an 11-play hurry up drive with a 3-yard scoring run with 38 seconds remaining in regulation.
“You’ve really got to give it to our line. Without the push they gave us, we’d have lost that game,” said the 6-foot-1, 160 pound Moore, who also scored on a 1-yard TD plunge in the second quarter.
The 6-2, 200 Weaver, who was made Moore’s backup after starter Alex Rogers pulled a hamstring in practice before the Gate City game, locked the game up at 27 with his bullish 2-point conversion run.
The Rebels defense shut down Tennessee High’s final bid to avoid overtime, including a key tackle-for-loss by Cody Shipley. They were no less stingy in the Vikings’ opening possession of OT, holding Tennessee High to a 23 yard field goal by Alex Sigmon.
After two handoffs to Shaun Hough, Weaver settled it, punching into the end zone from the 4-yard line to seal the win.
Weaver also rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries, including a 3-yard scoring run in the second quarter that gave South a momentary 12-7 advantage.
Short yardage hero that he was, Weaver’s most stunning play of the game was his 81-yard touchdown bomb to A.J. Hutchins that cut the Vikings’ lead to 21-19 near the end of the third quarter.
“He’s in there for the run, but their cornerback was just biting hard on that sweep. Coach made a great call, he left me wide open and (Weaver) made a great pass,” said Hutchins, who had five catches for 112 yards.
Tennessee High never saw it coming. To some degree, the same was true of Weaver.
“We ran it some in practice, but I didn’t realize he’d let me throw it,” Weaver admitted.
Tennessee High quarterback Austin Delph, the Big 8 Conference passing leader, was pretty darned impressive even in defeat.
Commanding Tennessee High’s spread offense — which showed South five-wide in its opening possession — Delph went 15-for-37 for 277 yards, including a 42-yard scoring strike to Zach Bunche to cap the opening drive and a 79 yard touchdown throw to the rather spectacular Adrian Lavergne.
Lavergne had six catches for 151 yards.