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Toros hold off Blount to win the 52-49 shootout

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The UTV 44 Game of the Week was at the Hill at Spanish Fort. This week’s game showcased the 6A Region 1 matchup between the Blount Leopards and the Spanish Fort Toros. The Leopards needed a win to stay in the hunt for the region championship while a win by Spanish Fort would put them one step closer to winning the region.

Blount would get the ball to start the game, and they wouldn’t keep it very long after three plays and losing six yards they were forced to punt. The Toros would start their drive from their own 41 yard line. Senior quarterback Jack Samsel would leave the Toros down field and would find the end zone when he completed a 17 yard pass to sophomore receiver Kris Abrams-Draine. The PAT was good and after the 59 yard drive, Spanish Fort took a 7-0 lead with just less than seven minutes left in the 1st quarter.

Blount would get the ball for the second time, and for the second time the Toros defense forced them to three plays and out and only gaining 6 yards on this possession. The Leopards would punt the ball away and Spanish Fort would start their second possession from their own 22 yard line. They wouldn’t stay on their side of the field for very long. Samsel would find Abrams-Draine again, this time for a 48 yard gain to put the Toros in scoring territory. Samsel would finish the 78 yard drive with a 5 yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the Toros extended their lead 14-0 over the Leopards with just under three minutes left in the 1st quarter.

The Leopards got the ball and couldn’t afford to go three and out again. Their 3rd possesion would begin at their own 37 yard line. The offense got a little spark when senior receiver Collins Woods hauled in 10 yard pass to help move the drive. Blount would later be in the red zone facing a 1st and goal when senior quarterback Jacoby Davis handed the ball off to senior running back Trajan Pugh who was stopped immediately by sophomore defensive back Zavier Love. They would keep him out for long as he would find the end zone from 2 yards out. The PAT was good and Blount cut the lead 14-7 with just under 10 minutes left in the 1st half.

The Toros would get the ball back and simply wasted no time in getting the points back. On the first play of the possession, Samsel hooked up with senior receiver Jeremiah Hixon with a 39 yard reception. On the very next play senior running back Conner Hegan would get into the end zone from 5 yards out. On two plays, Spanish Fort drove 44 yards and with the PAT good, they extended their lead again 21-7 over the Leopards with still just under 10 minutes left in the 1st half.

Blount would get the ball following the score but for the third time in the half, the Spanish Fort defense held the offense to only three plays and negative yards. The Leopards punted the ball to Hixon who would return the punt all the way to the end zone for 45 yards. The PAT was good and now the Toros lead 28-7 in the 2nd quarter.

After the punt, the Leopard offense looked to get into the end zone now being down 21 points to Spanish Fort. Starting from their own 20 yard line, the Leopards got to midfield when Davis found senior receiver Kyle Cass for a 47 yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good and now Blount was only down 28-14 with just under five minutes left in the 1st half.

Spanish Fort would get the ball back starting on their own 35 yard line. The offense quickly moved downfield on the Leopards with the help of senior receiver Corson Swan. First it was 31 yard rush from Swan, then 20 yard run to get them into a scoring position. Hegan would cap the 65 yard drive with an 11 yard run into the end zone. The PAT was good and the Toros had a 35-14 lead with less than three minutes left in the 1st half.

The Toros would get the ball again with less than two minutes left in the half. Starting from their own 46 yard line, Samsel led the Toros down to inside the 20 yard line of the Leopards. This time Abrams-Draine would take the handoff from 5 yards out and find the end zone. The drive took just over a minute to go 54 yards for the score. The PAT was good and Spanish Fort had a 42-14 lead.

The Leopards offense was not going to settle with that score going into halftime. Following the kickoff, Davis started their drive from their own 20 yard line and was able to get them close to midfield. Then he found senior receiver Jamarcus Powe-Mauldin for a 65 yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good and the Leopards went into halftime down 42-21 to Spanish Fort.

Spanish Fort would get the ball to start the second half and got a little taste of their own medicine as the Leopards defense quickly stopped them only allowing three plays and gaining no yards on the possession. Blount would get the ball on their own 37 yard line following the punt. Davis got the offense just passed midfield when he handed the ball off to Pugh who got into the end zone from 43 yards out and his second touchdown on the night. The 63 yard drive took just over two minutes, and the PAT was good to cut the lead 42-28 with under 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

The Leopards defense didn’t back down as on the ensuing possession the Toros offense started from their own 41 yard line, but after three plays and gaining only five yards, Spanish Fort had to punt the ball away. On the very first play, Pugh ripped off a 93 yard touchdown run to cut the lead even more. The PAT was missed and now Blount was only down by eight, 42-34 with just over five minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

Early in the 4th quarter, Blount had the ball again when Davis took off for a 15 yard run, but when Davis ran out of bounds Spanish Fort pushed him drawing the 15 yard personal foul penalty. Later in the same drive, Davis would find Powe-Mauldin for a 28 yard touchdown pass, his second of the game, his first through the air. The Leopards decided to line up and attempt the 2 point conversion. They were able to convert it and tie the game 42-42 with just under 11 minutes left in the game.

Toros would get the ball and start a drive from their own 30 yard line. After crossing midfield, Samsel would hand the ball off to Hixon who would rush for 26 yards to get to the Leopards 22 yard line. Couple plays later; Samsel would get a bad snap and would end up getting sacked for the loss. Not able to get into the end zone, head coach Ben Blackmon sent out junior kicker Matthew Quinn, who was able to make the 36 yard field goal to put the Toros back on top 45-42 with just under eight minutes left in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Blount’s Trajan Pugh received the kick and ended up taking it 92 yards for the touchdown, but the touchdown was called back when the Leopards were flagged for a personal foul. Then Powe-Mauldin would get the ball again and would find the end zone on a 68 yard run, but once again Blount was flagged, this time for un-sportsman like conduct as Powe-Mauldin was pointing to the end zone before he got in it and the ball would be spotted on the 30 yard line. Shortly after that, the Toros defense did not help themselves as they were flagged for a personal foul and gave the Leopards 1st and 10 from the Toros 10 yard line. Davis would attempt a pass into the end zone which Spanish Fort was flagged for defensive pass interference. For the third time on this possession, the Leopards found the end zone but this time the points would stay on the board. Pugh ran the ball in from 6 yards out. With the PAT good, Blount took their first lead of the game 49-45 with just over six minutes left in the game.

Later in the quarter, Spanish Fort had the ball in the red zone but facing a 4th down and 1 to go on the Leopards 18 yard line. Blount would get flagged for encroachment which would give the Toros the 1st down. A couple plays later, senior running back Dayton Reeder would get into the end zone from 13 yards out to give the Toros the lead again. The PAT was good and Spanish Fort lead 52-49 with just over two minutes left in the game.

Blount would get the ball and hoping to score either a field goal to tie, or a touchdown for the win, would start the possession from their own 20 yard line. During the drive, Blount looked to be stopped facing a 4th down with 4 yards to go, they were able to pick up the first down. A few plays later Powe-Mauldin helped the offense with a 15 yard run, and then after that he hauled in a 12 yard reception. Getting in scoring position the Leopards were forced to spike the ball, which was questionable as it appeared that Davis kneeled with the ball instead of spiking it. The clock was stopped and with 11 seconds left junior Kenneth Williams came out to attempt the 27 yard field goal to tie the game and force overtime. The kick was wide left and the Toros escaped with the 52-49 region win.

The Leopards suffer their third loss on the season and second region loss. They will need some help to stay in contention for the region, but first they must help themselves as they will go on the road again to take on LeFlore.

Spanish Fort remains on top and undefeated in the region. They will take a break in region play as they will prepare to travel to Foley to take on the Lions from 7A.

Tune in this Friday for the UTV44 High School Game of the Week as we head down south to Theodore for the 7A Region 1 matchup between the Murphy Panthers and the Theodore Bobcats, kick off will be 7PM on UTV44.