Hornets outlast Rebels 47-42 with late Hail Mary
Hornets outlast Rebels 47-42
By Logan Watson
It was almost Saturday morning by the time the Hornets picked up their second win of the season, thanks to the line of severe thunderstorms that moved through West Tennessee Friday night, but South Gibson finished the job with a 47-42 come-from-behind win.
Lightning postponed kickoff until 8:50, but the delay didn’t throw the Hornets off of their game plan. Fans were still waiting to reenter the stadium when C.J. Sharp sliced through the Obion County line for a huge 73-yard touchdown run, giving SGC a quick six point lead. Sharp would continue to show out as the Hornet hit parade continued, clocking 206 yards on 13 carries.
Rebels QB Cade Rogers had the most success against the Big Orange Wall, slipping through the cracks to match the Hornets 6-6 early in the first quarter. After another march downfield, quarterback Lou Rechis worked his way around the outside on a keeper for a 16-yard touchdown, capped off by an extra point by rookie Zach Sellers to regain the lead 13-6.
The Rebels closed the gap with a TD run in the second, but Cutter Gatlin managed to knock Obion’s PAT off-course to prevent the tie. Sharp tacked another six points onto the Hornets’ lead with a 61-yard walk to the end zone, followed by a pitch to Calem Rich that resulted in a 26-yard touchdown for SGC. Two short runs from Obion, plus two successful two-point conversions, helped the Rebels overtake South Gibson 28-27 at the half.
Coming back to a deficit after halftime, no matter how small, can rattle a team, but the Hornets have shown through that they’re in for the long haul this season. South Gibson came up with a nice field position after recovering an onside kick, but immediately turned the ball over on the next run with a tough fumble. The Hornets played through their setbacks and stayed on-point, recovering a punt and sending Dre McAllister into the end zone on the next play on an 18-yard run. McAllister’s TD, followed by a sweet two-point conversion from Will Corbin, put the advantage back in SGC’s hands at 35-28. Rudy Jenkins made a nice save after a Rebel running back broke out for a big gain, but Obion’s QB took the lead away with a short run through the goal line defense.
Down 36-35 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Hornets used every tool in their arsenal to finish strong. Two scrambling passes and some hard running on the first drive put McAllister back in the end zone with a 10-yard run, but a failed attempt at a two-point conversion kept the Rebels in the game at 41-36. One open route let Obion’s QB loose for a 77-yard keeper, allowing the Rebels to take another tenuous lead at 42-41.
Trading touchdowns is all well and good early in the game, but it’s not the best position to be in with the final minutes of the game flying off the clock. After the Rebels’ last possession, the Hornets found themselves down by one with less than two minutes on the clock.
This season’s squad from SGC seem to thrive on that kind of pressure, as a door opened up for Rudy Jenkins to make a huge return and set the ball near the Rebels’ 30 yard line. Hard runs from McAllister moved the chains for SGC, giving QB Dustin Moore just enough time to switch up the attack and hit Corey Needham in the end zone with a nerve-wracking 15-yard pass to regain the lead, 47-42. With one last Hail mary attempt to score, the Rebels’ QB launched a bomb downfield, but the pass was broken up by Calem Rich.
“It’s a real testament to how these kids have worked in the offseason,” said Hornets Head Coach Scott Stidham of his team’s comeback win. “We have a lot of young guys, but our team leaders have the experience to know that the game isn’t over just because we’re behind. We had a hard time stopping them, so they deserve a lot of credit. It wasn’t how we wanted to do it, but we found a way to win.”
The Hornets will be walking into a lot of unknowns this Friday night, as they travel to Nolensville in Williamson County. The matchup will be Nolensville’s first-ever homecoming for their new program, as well as the Williamson County Game of the Week.
“They have some quality players and coaches,” said Coach Stidham of SGC’s next opponent. “They’re a young team and they’re very excited. This will be a totally different atmosphere than we’re used to, but we’re looking forward to it.”