By Stan Veitch/Sports Correspondent
Well-known comedian Steve Martin could relate to Friday (Aug. 28) night’s 50-35 victory for Sardis High over Sylvania.
Simply put, it was a wild and crazy game, with an even wilder and crazier ending.
“I’ve been coaching for a lot of years and I’ve been a part of a lot of crazy games,” Lions coach Gene Hill said. “This one proved again that you have to play until the final horn blows. I wasn’t comfortable until it was over.”
The game was tied at 35-35 until the host Lions scored a few improbable points.
With 8:07 remaining, Sardis punter Ross Strickland pinned the Rams on their own 2-yard line after a holding penalty in the end zone flag pushed it back from the 4.
Caleb Roebuck was tackled in the end zone on Sylvania’s next play from scrimmage, giving the Lions a 37-35 edge.
After each team had a short drive that ended in a fumble, Sardis’ Tristan Scroggins came up with a fumble in the end zone, giving the Lions the ball at the Ram 20 with 2:34 left.
Sardis went three-and-out, however, and Sylvania had possession on the 49-yard line with 2:01 left.
On the Rams second play, quarterback Bret Brown’s pass was intercepted by Jake Ross, who scampered 75 yards for a touchdown. A two-point attempt failed, leaving the Lions with an uncomfortable 43-35 lead.
However, on the very next play, Brown threw another interception, this time to Austin Hallmark, who ran in for a 65-yard touchdown.
Finally, Hill could relax enough to run out the clock.
“We had no answer for their offense all night,” the coach said. “We made three or four stops toward the end and those made the difference. The safety and two interceptions swung it in our favor.”
The Lions scored first on a 77-yard punt return by Keenan Lewis.
The Rams took a 21-7 lead before Sardis tied it at 21-all, which was the halftime score. Lewis also scored on runs of 13 and 19 yards in the first half.
Sylvania opened the second half with an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Sardis scored next on a 14-yard run by Logan Gaskin, and the Lions went ahead on a 74-yard run by Hallmark.
The Rams then tied the score at 35-35, setting up the improbable ending.
Lewis finished with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, as well as the long punt return.
Sardis opens Class 4A, Region 6 play next Friday against Saks at home.