By Lionel Green/Sand Mountain Reporter
Braun Pee scored the go-ahead touchdown and brother Toby ran in the two-point conversion to lead Sardis to a 42-40 overtime victory over Guntersville last Friday (Oct. 5) in Sardis City.
The Class 4A, Region 6 game was a classic between two programs that hadn’t played against each other since 1969. The win was the Lions’ fifth in a row as they improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in Region 6.
Guntersville dropped to 1-5 overall and 1-3.
With the score knotted at 34-34, the Wildcats had a chance to win on the last play of the game, but Edson Jaramillo’s 32-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
Sardis took the opening possession of overtime at the 10-yard line, and Braun Pee slashed into the end zone on the first play to give the Lions a 40-34 lead. Toby Pee’s successful two-point run proved to be the difference, pushing the Sardis lead to 42-34.
On Guntersville’s possession, quarterback Clayton Daniel scored on a 2-yard run, pulling the Wildcats within 42-40. But Jesse Hubbard cut in front of Daniel’s two-point pass attempt, snatching the ball out of the air as he dove out of bounds.
Guntersville scored first on a 29-yard touchdown run by Daniel as the Wildcats led 7-0 at the 4:20 mark of the opening quarter.
Toby Pee responded immediately with a 90-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff to trim the Wildcat lead to 7-6 with 4:05 left in the first.
Daniel hit Brad Hampton for an 18-yard scoring pass to give Guntersville a 14-6 cushion after the first quarter.
After Sardis blocked a punt, Toby Pee scored again with a 15-yard touchdown run, pulling the Lions back to within 14-12 at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.
Jarren Hardnick gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the night on a 10-yard scoring run for a 21-12 advantage with 6:40 remaining in the second quarter.
Toby Pee scored his third touchdown on a 5-yard run and added the two-point conversion run to get Sardis back to within one at 21-20.
Guntersville capped the first-half scoring as Daniel hit a wide-open Darris Stewart on a 53-yard touchdown pass 1:16 before intermission, sending the Wildcats into halftime up 27-20.
Hampton intercepted a Will Scott pass to kill a Sardis drive 33 seconds before the first half ended.
The Lions struck first in the second half, driving 80 yards in 12 plays. Toby Pee capped the drive with his fourth touchdown, a 4-yard run, to bring Sardis within one again at 27-26 with 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
Braun Pee intercepted a Daniel pass on the second play of the fourth quarter, and the Lions were in business at the Guntersville 42-yard line.
Toby Pee scored two minutes and 20 seconds later on a 1-yard rush and added the two-point conversion run. Sardis had its first lead of the game at 34-27 with 9:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats answered on their next drive thanks to a Lee Menefee kickoff return to the Sardis 31-yard line. Menefee scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, and Jaramillo’s extra point tied the game at 34-34 with 7:18 left in the game, setting the stage for the overtime finale.
For Sardis, the win over Guntersville – a team that won the Class 4A state championship in 2006 – was a statement game because the Lions just moved up to 4A from 3A this season.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our kids,” said Sardis head coach Gene Hill. “I told Guntersville nobody deserved to lose that game. Both teams played their hearts out. I feel for them. They played good enough to win the football game, and it comes down to us making one more play than they did. I want to give credit to our kids and our coaches. They came out with a great game plan, and our kids showed they could stand in there with them.”
Sardis gave up 27 points and 285 yards in the first half, and only seven points and 137 yards in the second half, not counting overtime.
“I challenged our defense at halftime,” Hill said. “We’d given up 27 points, and they came out and stepped it up in the second half. I was proud of them. We preach about being in shape, and if we can get a ball game in the second half, we feel like we’ve got a chance.”
Toby Pee led the Lions with 155 yards five touchdowns on 25 carries. Braun Pee added 71 yards on 11 rushes and a score.
Scott completed 5-of-8 passes for 38 yards.
Sardis travels to St. Clair County in region action on Friday.