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September 13, 2013
Crazy Finish Sees Green Run Edge Tallwood 32-31: In one of the wildest endings to a ballgame Virginia Beach has seen in a long while, the Green Run Stallions edged the Tallwood Lions 32-31 to improve their record to 2-1 overall. With the victory, the Stallions match their win total from all of 2012 when they finished just 2-8 with eight consecutive losses.
Early on, the offenses stole the show as Tallwood built a 25-18 lead at half-time, but the defenses took control in the second half with neither team scoring again until less than two minutes remaining in regulation. That's when all of the drama ensued.
Both teams combined for three touchdowns in the final 1:32 with Green Run and Tallwood exchanging leads, then with 8.3 seconds left, a power outage occurred due to the lights in the stadium set to go off at precisely 10 PM. That caused a near 20-minute delay, reminiscent of Super Bowl XLVII (47) between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in the New Orleans Superdome.
"I though 'uh-oh, they're about to get us," quipped Green Run senior tailback Anthony Scott. "A couple of the players on the sidelines thought about the Super Bowl."
After Green Run grabbed the lead with less than two minutes to play, they gave it right back to Tallwood when the Lions marched 50 yards in five plays that took only 47 seconds off the clock. The Stallions aided Tallwood's cause on a 31-yard kickoff return when they were flagged for a 15-yard penalty, one of eight infractions on the night.
Green Run was given a chance thanks to a 29-yard kickoff return by the speedy Scott to the Lions' 45-yard line. Two plays later, junior quarterback Austin Lynch found senior wideout Breon Waters for a 40-yard touchdown pass over top of the Tallwood secondary, stunning the home crowd, and shortly thereafter, sending the Stallions into celebratory mode in the dark.
"As the quarterback was in his cadence, I saw the corner kind of bailing. Coach put his faith in me, knowing that when it's one-on-one I can go get the ball. I came down with it," Waters said.
Waters, who played quarterback last year, seems to be making the transition to wideout fine. He had two catches for 63 yards; his other reception was a 23-yarder that dug Green Run out from its own end zone late in the third quarter.
"I'm really emotional right now and trying to get my composure back. I've never been apart of something like this. I'm really excited we got the win, though," Water admitted.
"We've got the talent, the speed and good coaching. This win really builds our confidence and we feel like when we can come together like this as a team, we can beat anybody."
It was a huge bounce back performance for Green Run to show their resiliency and grit after getting beat by Salem 44-6 the previous week. Twice in three games now they have notched one-point victories.
"It's a testament to our kids; their fight and not giving up. We had so many people in the stands already quitting on us. This was a win that we needed to get," remarked Green Run Head Football Coach Jeff McGowan.
"We've got a big one next week (Ocean Lakes). Three games in we've already tied our win total from last year and we've just got to keep going. We're really banged up, have four sophomores starting on defense and it's showing. We'll take our bumps and bruises, but our playmakers have to make plays when it's their time and you can't ask for anything more."
In the first half, Scott had 12 touches for 139 yards and three touchdowns. By night's end, he carried the ball 20 times for 118 yards and two scores to go with six receptions for 147 yards and 2TD's. That's a total of 265 yards and four touchdowns, three of which measured 50 yards or longer.
"I feel so bad because we're asking so much from him, but that's the type of competitor he is. He wants the ball in his hands in these types of environments. He's going to be a special kid on the next level," McGowan said.
In the second quarter, Scott injured his shin, but that didn't slow him down for long. He was able to shake it off and raise his play in the fourth quarter when his team needed him to deliver. His 52-yard touchdown off a screen pass was the go-ahead score late in the fourth period to begin the late game heroics on both ends.
"All I saw was green field and just took it," Scott said.
To go with that enormous play, he converted a crucial fourth down to keep the drive alive. Scott's toughness was also evident, breaking out of a bunch of tackles throughout the evening.
"It was a big game and we just had to push it out. I told the boys if we win this, we'll get our respect back," Scott added. "We could've easily given up, but we wanted it more, fought through the pain and took the W."
Recently, Scott picked up a new offer from Old Dominion. He's considering the Monarchs, East Carolina, Hampton University, James Madison and West Virginia. Teammate and defensive lineman Shaun James, who recovered a fumble, is committed to ECU.
Junior quarterback Reggie Rudolph threw all four of his touchdown passes in the first half; two apiece to ODU commit Christian Byrum, best known for his hard-hitting from the safety position, and Will Howard (younger brother of ex-Lions standout Brad Howard). Rudolph completed his first six passes for 168 yards and concluded the evening with 266 yards passing and no interceptions.
Howard, one of the top seniors in the area without an offer, collected five catches for 153 yards. His 44-yard reception on the game's final play nearly went the distance before he was dragged down finally at the 18-yard line of Green Run.
Byrum hauled in four balls for 96 yards, two on the go-ahead scoring down in the closing seconds for Tallwood before Green Run took the lead back. It was one of his finer offensive performances in his Lions career.
Tailback Kentory Matthews was quiet in the first half with only 11 carries for 28 yards, but in the second half he seemed to get stronger and churn out the difficult yards with 83 yards over the final two quarters, plus a five-yard touchdown run with 25.8 seconds left to put Tallwood ahead 31-26. Matthews had his second straight 100-yard effort and is on pace for a 1000-yard season.
On defense, Tallwood got three sacks from senior defensive end Shamir Tyner. Dallas Carter and Henry O'Neal together recorded 13 stops, two behind the line of scrimmage.
The difference for Green Run was a switch with their pass defense, which resulted in the Lions going 1-for-10 after a 6-of-12 start through the air.
"They were picking our zone apart a little bit. We're so young in the secondary. I love running man, but right now with these young guys, I don't want to put them on an island," McGowan noted. "Tallwood's a good screen running team, so I was kind of hesitant on things I wanted to do, but then they pick you apart and find a hole in your zone. The kids responded."
Versus Tallwood, Lynch started out slow by completing only 8 of 20 passes with an interception. Once he got in a groove, Green Run's passing game attacked with relative ease as he finished 19 of 36 for a career-high 324 yards and 3TD's. Most of all, he displayed patience in the pocket in crunch time.
"Good composure from Austin down the stretch. He was a little shaky at first, but he once he settles in, he can start picking you apart," McGowan stated.
His receiving core with juniors Tim Norwood and Jamie Mitchell, both of whom holds offers from Hampton University, as well as seniors Waters and Ismail Murray, is coming along.
"We've got four receivers I feel everyone would love to have," McGowan believes. "We can explode at any time. That's our offense."
Run Stallions 32: (2-1 Overall)
Tallwood Lions 31:
Matthew Hatfield has covered football and basketball since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.