Oak Grove outlasts Hattiesburg in 48-41 thriller

Oak Grove outlasts Hattiesburg in 48-41 thriller

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Some might call it irony that a football game of 89 points and more than 1,000 yards total offense at Warrior Stadium ended with a single, emphatic sack by Oak Grove High School defensive end Jaden Crumedy on Hattiesburg High School quarterback Julian Conner.

But perhaps it only was fitting, for despite Conner's heroics that kept his team within reach of victory, Crumedy had spent the better of his evening in the Tigers' backfield.

After Braxton Betts' 1-yard run with 23 seconds to play broke a tie, Crumedy's third sack sealed a wild, 48-41 win for the Warriors, who claimed their first victory in September by using enough big plays in the second half to fend of Hattiesburg's rally over the final two quarters.

"This was a great game between two, really good football teams," said exhausted Oak Grove coach Drew Causey. "I said at the beginning of the week to throw records out, it doesn't matter.

"We knew what we were capable of doing and our guys did what we expected them to do (Friday) night and I couldn't be more proud of them."

Oak Grove (2-3) snapped a two-game losing streak by hammering away at Hattiesburg's defense and the game clock with a dedicated ground game.

Led by Orlando Simon's 260 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, Oak Grove punished Hattiesburg for 464 yards rushing on 56 carries.

Plumlee had 131 yards and two scores on 14 first-half carries, while Dwayne Lee added 57 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Tanner Slay, who replaced Plumlee in the second half, threw the Warriors' only two completions of the game,  but both were huge: a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter and a 50-yard completion to Lee to set up Betts' winning score after the Tigers' had tied the game with less than two minutes to play.

"Our passing game was off all night, but our running game was there," Causey said. "Our O-line played terrific all night long.

"Tanner came in and did a heckuva job running the offense and keeping us ahead of the sticks. He made a heckuva throw at the end of the game."

Hattiesburg (3-2) turned to its passing game to stay in the game.

Conner, who completed 14 of 27 passes for 315 yards, had a hand in all five of the Tigers' offensive touchdowns, including four touchdown passes.

Three scores went to receiver Jordan Murphy, who hauled seven catches for 276 yards, including a 99-yard scoring catch in the third quarter.

"We probably had three or four guys on him, but there's a reason he's going to Tennessee and play in the SEC,'" Causey said of Murphy, who had five catches of at least 24 yards, including three of 40 yards-plus.

"He's a heckuva player and has been years. We did the best we could, but they have great guys on offense, and they're going to make plays."

And Hattiesburg has guys with grit.

On a night where the running game was hit and miss (154 yards on 36 carries) and Hattiesburg often couldn't get out of its own way (18 penalties for minus 122 yards), the Tigers found themselves down 20-0 in the second quarter, 27-14 at halftime and 41-27 early in the fourth quarter.

"Those penalties, they kept us behind the sticks," Hattiesburg coach Tony Vance said. "First-and-15, first-and-20, you can't do that. You can't do that against anybody, but you can't do that against good football teams.

"You can't help good teams."

But Hattiesburg never quit coming and tied the game 41-41 on a 9-yard pass from Conner to D'Andre Humbles with less than minutes to play.

"We never play the scoreboard," Vance said. "Until the clock hits all zeroes, we feel like we have a chance to win the football game. That was the message on the sideline, and the kids stayed positive and the coaches stayed positive."

Momentum seemed to be swaying toward the Tigers, when on first down after tying the game, Simon took a huge hit from Hattiesburg linebacker Dshun Mitchell and exited.

But on second-and-10 from his 40, Slay found Lee slanting over the middle just opast midfield, and the running back broke tackles all the way to the 10-yard line.

Two plays later, Betts cracked in on a second effort for the game-winner.

"Yeah, we get a stop, and we get the ball with a timeout left, but we give up one, and that happens," Vance said. "It's high school football."

Plumlee started the scoring spree with a 5-yard run in the first quarter, and a possession later, Simon broke his first carry of the game for a 65-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 Oak Grove lead.

Lee's 3-yard run early in the third quarter put Hattiesburg in 20-0 hole, but Conner found Murphy for a 41-yard touchdown, and 12 seconds later, defensive back Chandler Phillips scooped a loose lateral and scooted 20 yards for a score.

Conner tacked on 2-point conversion run, and the Tigers had pulled with 20-14 with 4:27 left in the half.

But the Warriors needed just five plays to go 72 yards, with Plumlee high-hurdling a defender on a highlight-reel-worthy 36-yard touchdown run to leave Oak Grove ahead 27-14 at halftime.

A Brennan Sobiesk 59-yard punt pinned the Tigers at the 1-yard line early in the third quarter, but Conner found Murphy down the right sideline for a 99-yard score.

Oak Grove answered when Barnett adjusted to Slay's throw and brought it in for a 22-yard score to boost Oak Grove's lead to 34-20 at the end of three quarters.

Conner teamed with Murphy for an 18-yard touchdown before Lee scored on an 11-yard run to leave the Warriors up 41-27.

But Conner capped one drive with a 1-yard scramble, and he found Humbles' on Hattiesburg's next possession.

But Slay's big pass to Lee, Betts' run and Crumedy's sack saw Hattiesburg's three-game winning streak come to an end.

"I had to get that sack," Crumedy said. "We'd been on a losing streak, and we had to bring (our performance) up."

Fabian Franklin led Hattiesburg with 70 yards on 21 carries, while Conner added 43 yards on 13 carries.

The Tigers lost running back Drexlan Allen late in the first quarter.

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