By J. Thomas McNamara
Photos by Kyle Osborne
It was a game for the ages and one that will be talked about for years. Last Saturday’s first round playoff game between MacArthur and Mount Zion was one for the history books which is where it will go. The game had everything, big play after big play, lead changes after lead changes, resilience from both teams. It also required an extra period as the game was tied at 24 after regulation as the Generals quarterback Deyon Jackson scored late in the fourth quarter to knot up the game to force overtime.
And it came down to a one-point difference as Mount Zion made all its extra points and a field goal for a 31-30 win over MacArthur that outscored the Braves five touchdowns to four, but couldn’t convert any of its five two-point conversion attempts. Mount Zion fell behind MacArthur, 12-0, at the start, took a 14-12 lead, before MacArthur scored late in the second quarter for an 18-14 halftime lead as the Braves Sage Davis scored twice and then was stopped at the one-yard line as halftime arrived.
A MacArthur turnover gave Mount Zion’s Jonathan Oliger the chance to kick a field goal to cut the Generals lead to one, 18-17, early in the third quarter. His toe was golden for the Braves, despite his one field goal attempt that hit the upright and fell back. It had to be the largest crowd in Braves grid history to watch a game there and they were treated to one heckuva game where both teams literally left everything they had on the artificial surface field that will be talked about for years.
Ashton Summers and Jayce Booker hooked up for a huge touchdown and Summers scored what proved to be the game winner in overtime. Sixteen-seed MacArthur fell one point short of upsetting the top-seeded and undefeated Apollo champions Mount Zion.
Mt. Zion Braves head coach Patrick Etherton reacted to their win, “I thought our kids did a great job of battling back after getting down by two scores early. We made some adjustments on both sides of the ball that really helped us get back in the game.
“Our defense did an outstanding job all day defending the 2-point conversions,” concluded the Braves head coach.
Photo spread of the game in this week’s (Nov. 6th) edition of the print Decatur Tribune.