HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg High School football coach Tony Vance said there was no question whether his Tigers would consider going for a potential, game-winning 2-point conversion with less than 90 seconds to play Friday night at D.I. Patrick Stadium.
“Never thought twice about it,” Vance said amid the postgame din following Hattiesburg’s second-half rally that produced a 28-27 victory over visiting Jefferson Davis County. “As a matter of fact, we started that possession talking about what we were going to do for the two-point conversion.”
Trailing 27-20 with less than two minutes to play, Hattiesburg intercepted a JDC pass at the Tigers’ 22 -yard line.
Courtland Harris went around right end for 12 yards, then took a screen pass from quarterback Jordan Willis down 61 yards down to the Jaguars’ 5-yard line.
Willis gained 2 yards before Jamal Donaldson powered in from 3 yards out to get Hattiesburg within 27-26. Moments later, Donaldson slanted to his left to score the game-winning points with 1:23 left in the game.
“We had some adversity, but we’ve managed to strive through,” said Donaldson, who ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, and also ran for two, 2-point conversions. “This was big.”
Indeed. Hattiesburg rallied from a 27-6 halftime deficit to card its first win of the season as the Tigers (1-3) wrapped up non-region play.
After having few answers for the Jaguars (2-3) and dynamic wingback Keyser Booth in the first half, the Tigers came up with three, second-half takeaways and shut out Jefferson Davis County over the final two quarters.
All told, the Jaguars committed five turnovers.
“Coming in 0-3, this was a huge win,” Hattiesburg defensive back Chase Duckworth said. “We came out playing kind of sloppy, but we picked it up after (the coaches) gave us an awesome speech (at halftime) that should be remembered.”
Vance was asked what he told his team.
“You don’t want to know,” Vance said. “We challenged them at halftime, I will say that.”
JDC coach Lance Mancuso, who saw Booth and quarterback Lyric Hall depart with injuries in the third quarter, declined comment after the game.
Hattiesburg opened the game by taking a 6-0 lead on Willis’ 4-yard run, but Booth answered with a 55-yard run over the left side to tie the score.
Booth, who rushed for 204 yards on 15 carries in the first half, gave the Jags a 12-6 lead when he took a handoff to hid right, pulled up and hit Michael Carraway in stride with a 75-yard touchdown pass.
After Hattiesburg stalled at the JDC 22-yard line, Booth sparked a 78-yard drive with a 50-yard run, then capped it with a 6-yard touchdown run. His 2-point conversion run gave the Jaguars a 20-6 lead.
JDC struck again after an interception by Malcolm Hartzog set up the Jaguars at HHS’s 38-yard line late in the second quarter. Eight plays later, Hall scored on a 1-yard run for a 21-point halftime lead.
Hattiesburg scored on the opening possession of the second half.
Jaquez Andrews’ 40-yard kickoff return set up 44-yard drive that Donaldson capped with s 4-ysrd run.
The Tigers got within 27-20 after three quarters on a swing pass that Rhyen Brisco took 75 yards down the left sideline.
Willis completed 9-of-24 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Brisco hauled in three catches for 107 yards and a score and rushed four times for 23 yards.
Harris had two catches for 90 yards and Kyler Scott caught two passes for 51 yards.