OAKLAND,MD – Tucker County appeared to score a touchdown twice in the closing seconds of the game Friday night, but the officials ruled both runners down before the scores and Southern ran out the remaining 16 seconds of the game to get the 28-20 win over the Mt. Lions.
Tucker County won the coin toss and deferred their option until the second half. Southern put their offense on the field first and moved the ball to the Mt. Lions 33 yard line before a failed fourth down gave the ball back to Tucker County. Austin Zirk would then score a touchdown 6 plays later on a 36 yard run with 5:13 left in the first quarter. Michael Callaway added the extra point kick to give the Mt. Lions the early lead 7-0. The Rams would answer quickly on their next offensive play with a 61 yard touchdown run by Seth Kisner. The 2 point conversion failed to make the score 7-6 Tucker County with 4:51 left in the first.
On the next Mt. Lions possession the drive took the ball to the Southern 14 yard line. After a failed 3rd down play Callaway extended the Tucker County lead to 10-6 on a 33 yard field goal with 11:09 left in the first half. Both teams failed to sustain drives for the remainder of the second quarter until the Rams took over at their own 20 yard line with 1:46 left in the half. The Southern offense then made a big play when quarterback Travis Newton completed a 50 yard touchdown pass to Reese Haskiell with 29 seconds left in the second quarter. The 2 point conversion failed, but the Rams took a 12-10 lead into halftime.
The second half started with the Mt. Lions offense and they moved the ball down into the redzone, but were unable to convert a key 3rd down play. Callaway again connected on a field goal from 30 yards away to push Tucker County back into the lead 13-12 with 5:13 left in the third. Southern then came back on offense and answered with a long drive that covered 74 yards on 9 plays that was capped by an 8 yard Kisner run. This time the 2 point conversion was good to give the Rams a 7 point lead 20-13 with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
Tucker County would respond in the fourth quarter after a Southern fumble was recovered by the Mt. Lions Tyler Birchland deep in Rams territory. Then 2 plays later Tucker County would tie the score on a 3 yard touchdown run by Zirk and a successful extra point kick to put the score at 20-20 with 9:49 left in the game. Southern again would answer as they marched the ball down the field and went ahead with a 4 yard touchdown run by Kisner to take a 28-20 lead after a successful 2 point conversion with 6:15 left in the contest.
The last drive by the Mt. Lions took practically all of the time off the clock as Zirk converted two key 4th down conversions with his legs to keep the drive alive. Then on 1st and goal the Tucker County running back Zach Armstrong would dive for the pylon and hit it with the ball, but the ball was marked down at the 1 yard line. The 2nd and 3rd down plays netted no yardage and the game came down to 4th down and goal. Zirk then ran off the left side and appeared to score as he stretched the ball over his head which was over the goal line, but the officials ran in and marked the ball down before he crossed the line. This gave the ball back to the Rams with 16 seconds left in the game and ended the comeback attempt by Tucker County as the game would end with a Southern win 28-20.
Austin Zirk led Tucker County with 30 carries for 252 yards on the ground. Zach Armstrong added 56 yards rushing on 15 carries. Seth Kisner led Southern with 12 carries for 163 yards rushing. The Mt. Lions(4-2) will travel to East Hardy this Friday. The game will be broadcast live online at TuckerCountySports.Com, pregame starts at 7:15pm, kickoff will be at 7:30pm. For more info go to TuckerCountySports.Com.