(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
DEXTER -- The Park Hills Central Rebels took a gamble in overtime against the Dexter Bearcats on Wednesday night, and won in a big way, shocking the Dexter Bearcats 29-28 in a Class 3 regional game.
With the game tied 21-21 at the end of regulation, Dexter got the ball first in overtime and scored on a 2-yard run from fullback Alex Cliff, who converted the point-after attempt, giving the Bearcats a 28-21 lead.
Park Hills Central answered, however, scoring on a 5-yard run from tailback Derek Mitchell, cutting the lead to 28-27. Rebels coach Corey Schweiss never batted an eye, and immediately signaled to his team they were going for two.
"As soon as it was overtime I knew," Schweiss said of going for the two-point conversion. "We wanted the ball the second and whatever they did we were going to go for the win. It didn't matter."
After a Bearcats timeout, Rebels quarterback Hunter Courtois faked the ball to Mitchell and then sprinted to the left pylon as Dexter defenders bit on the fake and could only watch as Courtois crossed the goalline, giving Park Hills Central the 29-28 win.
"I knew they were going to pack it in there because we were gashing them up the middle the whole night,"Schweiss said. "I just told Hunter to sell it and it would be open to the outside and then sprint as fast as you can to the pylon and he did a great job."
"We got caught on a play fake," said Dexter coach Aaron Pixley. "It was a good play call and we were just a little late getting there."
Park Hills Central seemed to make the right calls all night long. After stopping Dexter on a fourth down play on their first drive of the night, the Rebels marched 67 yards in nine plays, capped by a 30-yard touchdown run Cody Harrison to give Park Hills Central a 7-0 lead.
Dexter then drove down the field, only to be stopped on fourth-and-goal at the two-yard line by the stout Rebel defense.
"Offensively we were out of sync," Pixley said. "We got it going, both the offense and defense played better as we got it going. Park Hills did a great job of doing what they do and pulling out the win."
A Cody Neldon interception seemed to give the Bearcats momentum they spurred into a score five plays later when Josh Overall ran the ball into the end zone from 12 yards out, tying the game at 7-7.
Park Hills Central answered on their next drive, marching 87 yards in seven plays, scoring when Mitchell ran the ball in from 10 yards out, giving the Rebels a 14-7 lead.
Dexter tried to get on the board before the half ended but were stopped once again on a fourth down play inside the Rebels' 10-yard line.
"We had to fight," Schweiss said. "Our defense had to really pick us up a lot. It was a team victory and a lot of these guys play both ways it was a really good ball game tonight. Dexter is a heck of a team."
After Dexter's D.J. Dowdy intercepted a Courtois pass midway through the third quarter, the Bearcats tied the game at 14-14 on a 36-yard pass from Cody Stevens to Tyler Miller. Dexter seemed to have all the momentum after stopping the Rebels on a three-and-out and forcing a punt, the Park Hills Central defense came through once again.
With the ball on their own 47, Dexter went for a fourth-and-three but Overall was stopped a yard short, turning the ball over on downs to the Rebels.
"We were just trying to extend it," Pixley said. "We picked up a couple (fourth downs) and got them to jump one time. It seemed like whenever we went for it on fourth down we had a tough time getting it, but it wasn't for a lack of effort, all of our guys played extremely hard, we just came up short."
The Rebels then went 49 yards in 11 plays, eating up almost six minutes off the clock, before Mitchell scored from five yards out. After the extra point, Park Hills Central lead 21-14 with 4:43 to play. The drive included a fourth-and-two conversion, which the Rebels did four times on the night in five attempts.
"We had Park Hills in fourth and short situations all night long and just couldn't get off the field," Pixley said.
The Rebels dominated the line of scrimmage all night, holding the ball for over 28 minutes while Dexter had the ball less than 20 minutes.
"The offense did a great job of controlling the ball, keeping it out of their hands," Schweiss said. "Our defense stepped up and made great plays when we had to."
The resilient Bearcats didn't take long to answer as they scored in five plays, with the help of a 38-yard pass from Stevens to Miller that put Dexter on the one-yard line. Stevens then plunged ahead for the score, tying the game once again.
Dexter stopped one final drive attempt by the Rebels in regulation, forcing a Park Hills Central punt with 16 seconds remaining and two ensuing Bearcat plays were unsuccessful sending the game into overtime.
Park Hills Central (6-5) will now travel to Ste. Genevieve on Monday to take on the Dragons in a Class 3 sectional while Dexter's season ends at 9-2.
"It was a very tough loss," Pixley said. "There are a lot of disappointed kids but we played our hearts out. I'm very proud of the effort."
P -- Cody Harrison 30 run (Joey Hagan kick), 4:30.
D -- Josh Overall 12 run (Alex Cliff kick), 5:03.
P -- Derek Mitchell 10 run (Hagan kick), 1:40.
D -- Tyler Miller 36 pass from Cody Stevens (Cliff kick), 1:26.
P -- Mitchell 5 run (Hagan kick), 4:43.
D -- Stevens 1 run (Cliff kick), 2:40.
D -- Cliff 2 run (Cliff kick)
P -- Mitchell 5 run (Hunter Courtois run)
|Time of possession||28:25||19:35|
RUSHING -- (Park Hills Central) Derek Mitchell 32-150, Cody Harrison 12-114, Ed Cruz 6-13, Daniel Marler 5-13, Hunter Courtois 2-19, Levi Sutton 2-(-1), Aaron Manford 1-2. (Dexter) Cody Stevens 23-128, Josh Overall 11-38, Alex Cliff 7-43, Nick Summers 1-4.
PASSING -- (Park Hills Central) Hunter Courtois 2-7-2 29. (Dexter) Cody Stevens 8-15-0 168.
RECEIVING -- (Park Hills Central) Joey Hagan 1-13, Kurt Richardson 1-16. (Dexter) Tyler Miller 3-98, Josh Overall 2-23, Cody Neldon 1-23, Alex Cliff 1-14, Jake Lee 1-10.