(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
The late touchdown erased a do-or-die 71-yard drive by Dexter late in the fourth quarter that pulled the Bearcats even with the Mules at 20-all with just 2:34 remaining in the game.
With overtime looming, Dexter (2-3) appeared to have thwarted the Mules' last-ditch effort to win the game in regulation when Andrew Stuever stepped in front of a Mules' receiver and intercepted Wyatt's pass.
Instead of a change of possession, the play was ruled pass interference on the 'Cats and four plays later Watts connected with Stith for the game-
"And we had that opportunity," he continued. "We just have to learn how to win these games. We just didn't get it done.
"Now we have to go play probably the most talented team in Southeast Missouri (Charleston)."
The late heroics capped a second half comeback that saw the Mules overcome a 12-0 deficit at the half to record their first win of the season.
"I was satisfied with what we did," a smiling Poplar Bluff coach Mike Dormady said. "We didn't play a very good first half. Dexter has a heck of a football team and they did some things to control the line of scrimmage in the first half.
"My hat is off to them," he added. "It's a tough way to go down in a ballgame, down to the last 40 seconds like that. We've been there the last four weeks so whatever it takes it's nice to get a win."
Three interceptions by Dexter (Drew Pixley, Zach Ventura and Eric Rinehart) in the first half slowed down the Mules' shotgun offense.
Poplar Bluff countered in the third quarter by running the ball from the passing formation.
Wyatt (14-of-24, 239 yards) went from passing to handing the ball off to Alan Spencer, who danced his way through the Dexter defense for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Poplar Bluff took the second-half kickoff and marched 67-yards to cut the Dexter lead to 12-6 (PAT no good) when Spencer punched it over from 7-
yards out to cap an eight-play drive.
Dexter's goal line stand on the Mules' next possession prevented a near score when Drew Satterfield tackled Spencer for a 4-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the one.
Dexter would be unable to move the ball and Justin's Foushee's 33-yard punt gave the Mules' the ball at the Dexter 40-yard line.
The Mules would strike on their first offensive play as Wyatt found Stith, who had slipped behind the 'Cats defense, for a 40-yard strike.
The play was similar to the play that would later win the game for the Mules. The PAT was good and Poplar Bluff had their first lead of the game, 13-12.
Field position would again become Dexter's worst enemy when, on the ensuing kickoff, Chad Ventura fielded the kick and slipped down at the 'Cats 3-yard line.
Dexter was unable to get a first down and Foushee's 34-yard punt had the Mules' offense working from the Dexter 44.
Three running plays by Spencer and a 17-yard scramble by Wyatt moved the ball to the Dexter 15 where Spencer would score his second TD of the game.
Wyatt's PAT was good and Dexter trailed 20-12 with 7:29 remaining in the game.
Dexter would mount its most impressive drive of the season to tie the game.
With the game on the line, Chad Ventura busted a 32-yard return to give the 'Cats good field position at their own 39.
Thirteen plays later, quarterback Josh Stevens (13-of-22 for 117 yards, two touchdowns) would connect with Logan Swindle for his second touchdown of the game, a 6-yard strike with 4:55 remaining in the game, to cut the Mules' lead to 20-18.
The must-have 2-point conversion was a pass play to tight end Josh Davis who worked his way to the back of the end zone and behind the defense for the catch that tied the game at 20-all.
"We played pretty hard I felt like," Pixley said. "On a positive note, down 20
-12, we drove all the way down the football field, came back to tie the football game, and that's what good teams do.
"We had an opportunity to stop them on fourth-and-six, we're in a zone, and we still let someone get deep on us and they popped a big pass on us," Pixley continued. "We had some opportunities, but we just didn't get it done."
Dexter dominated the Mules in the first half, scoring on the game's first possession. Alex Becker (28-for-121 yards and one touchdown) capped the opening 14-play drive with a 10-yard run up the middle.
The PAT was no good and Dexter led 6-0 at the 6:03 mark of he first. Poplar Bluff (438 yards of total offense) would move the ball, but a missed field goal and three interceptions in the first half would help Dexter keep them off the scoreboard.
Wyatt's third interception of the game by Pixley, who returned the pick 76 yards to the Mules' 9-yard line, set up Dexter's second score of the first half.
Stevens capped the three-play scoring drive with a 7-yard pass to Swindle, and after another missed PAT, Dexter led 12-0 with 44 seconds remaining in the first half.