HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Presbyterian Christian School needed three overtimes, a gutsy call from the other sideline and a lot of faith Friday night.
For the first time ever, the Bobcats defeated Madison-Ridgeland Academy, taking a 45-44 decision from the Patriots.
The game wound up being decided when PCS linebacker Justin Stewart swatted away a 2-point conversion pass near the goal line on the final play of the third, extra period.
"It was unbelievable," PCS coach Joey Hawkins said. "Our kids never quit fighting. That was the name of the game. It was a great win in a great game."
It was statement win, not only boosting the Bobcats to 6-0 for the first time in the program's history, but giving PCS its first win over MRA for the first time in nine meetings.
"We did a lot of good things, but it was just a few plays that hurt us, and we have to get better at that," MRA coach Herbert Davis said. "But I'm proud of the kids. We made a lot of big plays. We just didn't make enough."
PCS running back Isaiah Woullard, who rushed for 171 yards on 25 carries, scored four touchdowns. He ripped off scoring runs of 22 yards and 70 yards during regulation before scoring on 1-yard runs on fourth-and-goal n the first and third overtime periods
In fact, the Bobcats scored all three of their touchdowns in the extra periods on fourth-and-goal runs, including a 1-yard, do-or-die sneak by quarterback Luke Hudson in the second overtime.
"It's just an awesome feeling," Woullard said. "It was tough. That's a good team. But we showed a lot of guts, and it was just a team effort."
Davis showed a lot of guts as well, eschewing a third extra point attempt in overtime.
After quarterback Hunter Hulsey threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game, a 6-yard dart to Breckon Young, the MRA coach ordered up a pass play on the conversion try.
Hulsey, who completed 38 of 53 passes for 481 yards, slipped to his left as defensive end Thomas Holford pushed the pocket from the right.
Running out of time and room as he neared the sideline, Husley tried to lob the ball into the front corner of the end zone. But Stewart was able to get a hand on the ball to preserve the Bobcats' win.
Davis said he had no qualms making the 2-point conversion call.
"You've got one of the best running backs in the state (Woullard) over there, so let's see if we can't get it and win the game right there," Davis said.
MRA (4-3) opened the scoring on the game's opening possession, with running back Andrew Berry capping a 71-yard drive with a 3-yard run.
Woullard tied the game when his 33-yard run to the Patriots' 22-yard line set up his scoring run on the next play to make it 7-7 with 5:41 left in the first quarter.
The Bobcats took a 14-7 lead on the final play of the period, when Hudson found Brandon Thornton 10 yards behind the coverage and connected on a 70-yard touchdown.
The teams did not threaten in the second quarter until the Patriots rode Hulsey's arm (8-of-11 for 100 yards) that set up Jake Reeves' 40-yard on the final snap of the first half that brought MRA within 14-10 at the break.
Woullard broke off his 70-yard touchdown around left end on the second play of the third quarter for a 21-10 PCS lead.
But the Patriots answered right back, with Hulsey connecting with Lee Tanner on the first of their three scoring plays, a 10-yard touchdown that pulled the Patriots back within 21-17 after three quarters.
MRA dominated the fourth quarter defensively. On four offensive possessions, the Bobcats managed just 13 snaps, failing to make a first down.
But the Patriots could not take advantage of two of their drives that penetrated the PCS 35, as the Bobcats bowed up on defense as well.
The third time proved to be the charm, though.
On the first play after a PCS punt at his 37-yard line, Hulsey found Tanner with a 63-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline for a 24-21 lead with 1:23 to play.
But Harper Evans gave the Bobcats new life, returning the ensuing kickoff 47 yards to the MRA 22-yard line, and three plays later, O'Neal Walters sent a sidewinder spinning through the uprights to tie the game 24-24. Forty-nine seconds later, the teams headed to overtime.
PCS matched scoring runs by Woullard and Hudson against Hulsey touchdown passes to Tanner (12 yards) and Jace Correro in the first two extra periods.
Woullard's leap over the pile in the third overtime and the extra point kick that followed gave Bobcats the final edge.
"Our kids just never quit, and that was the name of the game," Hawkins said. "It was a great win in a great game."
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