Glencoe strong down the stretch in 17-10 win over LCHS

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By Chris McCarthy/Editor

Chalk up Glencoe High’s latest victory to mental toughness.

Trailing Lauderdale County by double digits late in the third quarter on Friday, the host Yellow Jackets scored the game’s final 14 points en route to a 17-10 win in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

Glencoe (12-0) travels to Leighton on Friday to take on Colbert County the state quarterfinal round. The Indians defeated the Yellow Jackets by a point in overtime in the second round of the 2013 playoffs.

The Yellow Jackets’ second-half rally began shortly after the Tigers (9-3), who were leading 14-3, stuffed Glencoe quarterback Dylan Stone on a fourth down and goal from the Tiger 1-yard line.

“We didn’t think for one second that we were out of the game [at that point],” said Stone. “We have a bunch of seniors and leaders on this team and we knew that we’d been there before and that we could to it again.”

The Jacket defense stiffened and eventually forced the Tigers to punt from their own 23. Austin Bush partially blocked the kick and the hosts recovered the ball at the LCHS 15.

One play was all it took for the Yellow Jackets to find the end zone, as Stone threw to Andrew Willis for the touchdown. Joseph Bright added the extra point to draw Glencoe within 14-10 with 1:47 left in the third period.

The following Tiger drive lasted four plays and netted minus-2 yards, allowing the Yellow Jackets to regain possession at their own 32.

A 15-yard run by Stone brought the ball near midfield, and Stone took advantage of another seam in the LCHS defense three plays later to score a 39-yard touchdown. With Bright’s PAT, the hosts had their first lead of the contest at 9:55 of the fourth quarter.

The Yellow Jacket defense then did its part to maintain the advantage. The next two Tiger series ended with an interception by Dalton Roberts and a three-and-out. 

Glencoe got the ball back at its own with 4:23 on the clock. The Yellow Jackets kept the chains moving on third down, first with an 11-yard pass completion to Roberts and then with Stone’s 9-yard scramble with under a minute left. That run allowed Glencoe to run out the clock and clinch the program’s first quarterfinal berth since the 1996 season. 

“The one thing this team does not do is panic in tight situations,” said GHS head coach Lee Ozmint. “Our kids understand what we had to do and it was just a matter of time before something good happened. We had every excuse to make when we didn’t punch it in from the 1, but our kids don’t make excuses. They find ways to win and they did that tonight. They knew that all they had to do was hang in there and start making plays. It got contagious, and we made enough plays down the stretch to win. When the bullets are flying, our kids focus on what they need to focus on and they take care of business.”

Stone finished with 120 rushing yards on 19 carries. He was 8 for 13 in passing for 113 yards. Thomas Ozmint carried 19 times for 39 yards.

“Dylan started off a rough, and it’s a testament to his character that he leveled off and started making plays,” said Lee Ozmint. “Some of Thomas’ best runs tonight were 5-yard runs, so he made some big plays, too.”

Willis, Roberts and Pace Ozmint each had two catches.

Mason Brown had 15 tackles, followed by Taylor Daugherty with eight and Chance Duncan with seven. 

For the Tigers, Zach Simbeck rushed for 203 yards on 24 carries, but 111 of those yards came on a pair of long touchdown runs. 

“We were out-manned up front, and that’s probably going to happened for the rest of the playoffs,” said Lee Ozmint. “But you can’t measure a man’s heart, and our kids played with heart. These kids play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, and it’s fun to watch.”

The Yellow Jackets started the game off on the wrong foot when their opening drive ended with an interception by John Trousdale. The resulting LCHS drive yielded Simbeck’s 55-yard TD run and a 7-0 lead at 9:08 of the first quarter.

Glencoe answered with a 14-play, 58-yard possession, a series that was kept going by Stone’s 11-yard pass to Garrison Clowdus on fourth down and a 12-yard completion to Pace Ozmint on third down.

Bright’s 27-yard field goal closed the gap to four points at 1:54.

The teams spent most of the second period trading punts and failed fourth down conversion attempts. Roberts and Hunter Nunnally both had interceptions before halftime.

The Yellow Jackets found themselves down 14-3 when Lauderdale County’s first possession of the second half was capped by Simbeck’s 56-yard touchdown run.

“[Lauderdale County] lives off the big play, and they averaged 48 points game for a reason,” said Lee Ozmint. “They hit us with some misdirection on a few plays and we lost our keys and they ran right by us. But when you have players that have a level head like we have, the coaches aren’t going to panic either. That’s because our kids understand what’s expected of them.”

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