OAKBORO – Trailing by a point with just 48 seconds remaining in a huge road game at West Stanly, Mount Pleasant coach Mike Johns wasn’t interested in overtime football.
The Tigers’ offense stayed out on the field.
Moments later, Mount Pleasant junior quarterback Ryan Tyson hit Sawyer Osborne with a pass for a two-point conversion, and the Tigers danced off Colt Field with a dramatic 18-17 victory that kept their season alive.
The victory put the Tigers in a tie with West Stanly for second place in the Rocky River 2A/3A Conference and, thus, assured they would make the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.
“It was a must-win,” said Johns. “If we don’t win, our guys are focusing on winter sports. I’m really happy for our seniors.”
The Tigers (4-7 overall, 2-2 RRC) had a safety halfway through the first to give the Colts an early lead. West Stanly followed that with a rushing touchdown and ended the first quarter up, 9-0.
“(The Colts) got rolling, and we made an adjustment that worked really well for a little bit, and then they changed something and were getting 5 yards every time again,” Johns said.
Mount Pleasant junior running back Dalton Miller got going in the second quarter when he scored an 8-yard touchdown to bring the Tigers their first score.
Senior kicker Owen Prifti added a 27-yard field goal in the third to give the Tigers first lead of the night, 10-9, with only a minute remaining in the quarter.
The score stayed that way until the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter, when the Colts added a 2-yard touchdown and two-point conversion to take back the lead, 17-10.
With less than a minute remaining in the game, Tyson ran in from the 2-yard line for six to make it 17-16 with 48 seconds t go, and the Tigers had a decision to make: go for the tie with an extra point or go for the two-point conversion and the win.
Johns said that decision had already been made, even before Tyson crossed the goal line for his touchdown.
“I told the boys, when we score, we’re going for two,” said Johns. “Put it on the line. Put the season on the line.”
They did just that, as Tyson completed a pass to Osborne, a junior receiver, to provide the final score. The 10-yarder was Osborne’s only catch of the night.
Tyson finished with eight completions on 15 passes and 102 yards, while Miller added 12 carries for 98 yards.
Brennen Jones lead the Mount Pleasant defense with 5 ½ tackles, while Chris Earnhardt and Osborne both had 4 ½.
“I’m so proud of team and the coaches,” said Johns. “They just hung in there. We’ve lost a lot of close games this year, so I’m proud of our team.”
-- Jay Boyd