Swampcats hold off Wilson Hall 20-14 in OT


MANNING -- For the second straight week, the injury-depleted Wilson Hall varsity football team lined up against archrival Laurence Manning Academy and took the Swampcats down to the wire.

And for the second straight week, the result was heartbreak for the Barons.

Last week, it was a last-second touchdown pass and a partially deflected point-after kick that made the difference in a 14-13 LMA victory.

On Friday, with the full moon hanging over Billy Chitwood Field, the Barons took the Swampcats to overtime before running out of gas in a 20-14 loss.

With the win, LMA improved to 9-2 on the season and will head to Columbia next week to face No. 2 seed Ben Lippen in the semifinals. The Falcons, who beat the Swampcats 26-23 in a close regular-season game, received a first-round bye.

Wilson Hall's season ended with the Barons at 5-6, dropping their last five as injuries mounted.

Laurence Manning looked like it might have a chance to win in regulation after a short Wilson Hall punt set the 'Cats up at the Wilson Hall 44-yard line. The drive chewed up much of the last four minutes of the game, but ended when Wilson Hall fell on a fumble at its 14-yard line.

Wilson Hall was content to go to overtime, and got the ball first in the Kansas City Shootout from the 10-yard line. Three runs netted minus six yards and Mills Herlong's field goal attempt sailed wide right.

The 'Cats' Burgess Jordan ran the ball to the 4-yard line on first down, and quarterback Braydon Osteen plunged in on second down to secure the 20-14 victory.

"I thought it was really a classic game," said LMA head coach Robbie Briggs, in his fifth season at the helm. "The kids showed a lot of poise and a lot of pride. We tried to get back to running the football a little -- we didn't do a very good job against them in the first game as coaches.

"But you've got to give them an amazing amount of credit," Briggs said. "They've got some of their better players out. I thought (Wilson Hall's Brandon) Carraway gave them a spark being back at fullback, and we're thankful for the win. Tall test next week."

Osteen led all offensive players with 90 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and was 4-of-8 passing for 51 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Swampcat defense held Wilson Hall under 100 yards of total offense, limiting the Barons to 82 yards on 40 rushes and a 9-yard touchdown reception and an interception on three passing attempts.

Trailing 14-7 in the third quarter, the Barons held LMA to a 3-downs-and-out on the opening drive of the half and then marched 55 yards in six plays, including a 25-yard burst by Landon Van Patten to the LMA 15, before quarterback Jacob Cotton capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run and Herlong's kick tied the game at 14-14.

"We get a chance to go to overtime, and they just got us," said an emotional Wilson Hall head coach Adam Jarecki after addressing his senior players one-by-one after the game.

"I'm proud of them and the way they played hard," Jarecki said. "I've got good kids and they play hard, and that's all I can ask for."

LMA scored on its opening drive, going 55 yards on nine plays, all of them runs, and taking a 6-0 lead on a 2-yard plunge by Osteen. Jackson Lee's point-after kick made it 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

Wilson Hall answered in the second stanza when a big quarterback sack and a short punt set the Barons up with a short field at the Swampcats' 26-yard line. Four plays later, Cotton found tight end Mitchell Matthews in the corner of the end zone, and Herlong's kick tied it at 7 apiece.

It appeared the teams would go into halftime tied, but a fumble set up LMA at the Wilson Hall 14-yard line with only 30 seconds left in the half, and Osteen found senior standout Taylor Lee for paydirt on first down, and Jackson Lee's kick gave LMA a 14-7 advantage at the break.