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Football Tames Howard Huskies in Overtime 26-25

MACON, Ga. – In what will go down in the books as an instant FPD football classic, kicker Brad Powell was left wondering if he would get a chance to redeem himself.

After two missed extra points and a hooked 22-yard field goal that would have given the Vikings a late lead against Howard in the fourth quarter of Friday’s season opener, all the junior kicker could do was wait for another opportunity.

“Ninety percent of kicking is mental,” Powell said. “I was just hoping and praying I would get another chance to prove I could make one when it counted to my teammates.”

Consider his prayer answered.

The right-footed Powell nailed his final extra point of the night after a Jam Morris touchdown in the first overtime period, sending the Vikings (1-0) past the Howard High School Huskies (0-1-1) 26-25 on Friday night in FPD’s season opener at Austin Childers Field at George S. Johnson Stadium.

“The feeling is incredible,” Powell said. “I knew I could do it. My teammates believed in me and I told myself I was going to make that PAT no matter what.”

Head coach Greg Moore was almost at a loss of words afterwards.

“What a crazy game,” Moore said. “From the beginning to the end, the atmosphere was great and our kids pulled through when it mattered. I can’t say enough on how proud I am of them and our school.”

But the road to the win didn’t come easy for the Vikings.

The Huskies, fresh off a tie last week against Lamar County, had every intention of spoiling FPD’s opener in front of a home sellout crowd.

Thus, the Huskies bit first in the game when kicker Andy Kim buried a 27-yard field goal with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter to give Howard a 3-0 lead.

The Vikings would bounce back, scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter, highlighted by an Evan Sapp fumble recovery in the end zone from his own teammate, Reggie Gantt, giving FPD a 13-3 lead at halftime.

“We felt like we played good enough in the first half, but left a lot of opportunities out there to score,” Moore said. “We tried to address that in the second half.”

In the second period, the Huskies made adjustments with their running attack as Tahjae Morant capped off an 83-yard drive just 38 seconds into the third quarter to pull Howard  within two at 13-11 after a two-point conversion.

Just 17 seconds after Morant’s score, FPD’s Morris answered with his own magic, a 69-yard touchdown pass from Will McComick to put FPD up 19-11.

Morant answered again with 3:02 left in the third quarter on a 44-yard touchdown run followed by another Husky two-point conversion to deadlock the game at 19-19.

Both teams would fail to score in the fourth, setting up the dramatic overtime period.

“We won the toss and elected to play defense first,” Moore said. “When a game goes to overtime in the GHSA, both coaches separately agree or disagree to play overtime. We found out at midfield at the end of regulation and proceeded from there.”

The Huskies wasted no time, giving the ball to Morant who scored on a four-yard run.

“That’s a really good, physical football team,” Moore said. “It was special to be a part of something like this that would happen for our players and school family.”

Like poetic justice, Howard attempted the extra point and couldn’t convert. The door was suddenly open for FPD.

“I just told myself to be a leader and let’s go score,” FPD quarterback Will McCormick said.  “We decided to go with the counter option and Jam (Morris) got the ball and scored.”

The touchdown sent Viking fans into a frenzy, and Morris was thrilled he was a part of it.

“It feels good,” Morris said. “We’ve worked on situations like this everyday in practice. We executed and got the win.”

The touchdown tied the game, but Powell was called on to win the game with the point after. The snap was solid and the hold by Austin Cox was perfect. So was Powell’s kick – end over end through the center of the uprights.

“There no feeling like it,” Powell said. “We were ready to play this game. I wouldn’t trade this win for anything in the world.”

Morris added that it was a perfect ending to a night where things fell into place in just the nick of time.

“We felt bad for Brad in the game,” Morris said. “But we knew he would get going and kept trying to encourage him to do so.”

Moore agreed.

“It’s tough being a kicker,” Moore said. “Going through all those motions and being a touch off is frustrating at times. But we had faith in Brad that he would get that last one to go.”

Moore said the game, the first time in almost 50 years a Bibb County public and private school have played, did wonders for the area.

“It just shows that we can put things aside and focus on playing a football game,” Moore said. “High school football playing a positive part in our community happened because Howard wanted to do something like this with us. I think if you were here tonight you’d say ‘what a great night for high school sports in middle Georgia.”

It was also a great night to be a Viking.

The First Presbyterian Day School Department of Athletics strives to build the student athlete both in the playing arena and the classroom while upholding the school’s mission statement to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory. For more information, visit www.fpdvikings.com and sign up for up-to-the-minute news and scores by visiting www.twitter.com/FPDVikingSports.

BOX SCORE:

FPD 26, HOWARD 25

Howard 3-0-16-0-6–25

FPD 0-13-6-0-7–26

First Quarter
H — Andy Kim 27 FG

Second Quarter
FPD — Will McCormick 1 run (Brad Powell kick)
FPD — Evan Sapp 1 fumble recovery (kick failed)

Third Quarter
H — Tahjae Morant 9 run (King run)
FPD — Jam Morris 68 run (kick blocked)
H — Morant 44 run (JaQwun Stinson pass from Courvosier King)

Overtime
H — Morant 4 run (kick failed)
FPD — Morris 16 run (Powell kick)

H FPD

First downs 13 13
Rushes-yards 43-255 42-232
Passing yards 12 36
Comp-Att-Int 1-14-2 2-11-1
Fumbles-Fumbles lost 2-1 4-2

TOP INDIVIDUALS

RUSHING — Howard: Tahjae Morant 25-179, Stinson 10-59, King 7-17; FPD: Jam Morris 4-79, Reggie Gantt 16-54, McCormick 11-33, Torrian Bradley-McSwain 6-20.
PASSING — Howard: King 1-14-2 12; FPD: McCormick 2-11-1 36.
RECEIVING — Howard: Alphonso Stephens 1-14; FPD: Austin Cox 2-36.

GAME NOTES:

–FPD had five players surpass double-digits in rushing. Reggie Gantt led the Vikings with 55 yards rushing on 16 attempts.

–FPD quarterback Will McCormick threw for over 100 yards despite completing just three of 12 passes.

–Jam Morris scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving

–Howard’s Tahjae Morant racked up 239 yards rushing on 27 carries. He accounted for all of Howard’s touchdowns on the night (3).

–There were a total of seven fumbles in tonight’s game, four by FPD and three by Howard.

–FPD is now 3-2 in season opener’s since joining the GHSA. Tonight’s win against Howard snaps a two-game skid in season opener’s.

–The Vikings picked up 10 first downs, while Howard had 11.

–Howard out-gained FPD in yards on the evening 313-284.

–Tonight’s win for FPD was the 275th win in program history. Head coach Greg Moore is one win away from 110, currently at 109-62 overall.

–Tonight’s game was the first time a Bibb County public and private school faced each other since 1965 when Mark Smith defeated Mount de Sales 20-0 at Henderson Stadium.

VIDEOS:

PHOTOS
Visit our Flickr Page for photos from FPD/Howard! (game action)
Visit out Flickr Page for photos from Viking Fanfare

QUICK LINKS:
Macon Telegraph Sunday Morning Quarterback
Macon Telegraph Post-game video with Coach Moore by Jonathan Heeter
Macon Telegraph Article by Ron Seibel (recap)
13WMAZ Football Friday Night highlights
Macon Telegraph Fan Photos: Spotted – Howard at FPD
Macon Telegraph Game Photos – Howard at FPD
FPD Webcast of Football vs. Howard
What to Watch by Jonathan Heeter – Telegraph