Yellow Jackets beat Cleburne County, finish regular season undefeated

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By Chris McCarthy/Editor

If last Thursday’s victory served as a test for the postseason, Glencoe High aced the exam at Wilson-Darnell Field.

The Class 3A No. 3 Yellow Jackets (10-0, 7-0) completed the school’s first undefeated regular season in 25 years with a 24-17 victory over Class 4A No. 5 Cleburne County, an achievement that head coach Lee Ozmint viewed as an “appetizer for the playoffs.”

Trailing 10-9 at the start of the fourth quarter, the hosts put together a 13-play scoring drive that covered 70 yards and consumed more than five minutes of clock time. With the Jacket offensive line gradually wearing down the Tiger front seven, Glencoe went 3-for-3 on third down conversions on the possession. Operating out of the read-option formation, quarterback Dylan Stone rushed five times for 42 yards and halfback Thomas Ozmint gained 17 yards on five carries. Ozmint polished off the series with a 1-yard touchdown run through the teeth of the CCHS defense, providing the hosts with their first lead of the game with 5:16 remaining.

The Yellow Jackets opted for the two-point conversion in order to take a one-possession lead, a decision that paid off when Stone connected with Andrew Willis for a 17-10 advantage.

The Tigers (8-2, 7-0) had five minutes and change at their disposal, however, leaving it to the GHS defense to hold the fort.

The Jackets allowed seven yard on the first two plays, but on third down and 6 quarterback Brock Swafford hit Jeremiah Blake for 29 yards and a first down at the Glencoe 36.

That was as far as Cleburne County got.

After Mason Brown dropped Swafford for a four-yard loss and Swafford rushed for three yards, consecutive long pass attempts to Josh Horn fell short.

With just over two minutes left in the contest, Glencoe went to its bell cow to put the game away. Thomas Ozmint obliged with runs for 14, 7, 2 and 5 yards to secure the win.

“I’m proud of our resilience and how our kids responded in the second half,” said Lee Ozmint, who last week won his first region title at Glencoe. “We made enough mistakes to give the game away but we made enough plays down the stretch to win it. That’s all that matters.”

The Yellow Jackets host Sylvania on Friday in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

Both Stone and Thomas Ozmint went over the century mark in rushing for the night. Stone carried 15 times for 150 yards, while Ozmint gained 146 yards on 26 carries. Stone also was 7 for 15 in passing for 64 yards. Willis and Dalton Roberts each had two receptions.

The Glencoe offense was slow out of the gate, punting on its first possession and coming up short on a fourth down conversion attempt on the second. 

Meanwhile, Cleburne County built a 10-0 lead by way of David Jacks’ 30-yard field goal with 1:55 to go in the first quarter and Brady Padgett’s 2-yard touchdown run at 9:02 of the second period.

But on the next play from scrimmage after Padgett’s score, Stone broke loose for a 67-yard run all the way to the Tiger 11.

Two play later, Thomas Ozmint found the end zone from seven yards out. The PAT failed but the CCHS lead was cut to four points with 2:51 remaining before halftime.

The Tigers gained zero yards on the ensuing series, and the hosts took over with 1:47 on the clock. 

Facing a third and 9 at their own 36, the Jackets quickly made it deep inside CCHS territory when Thomas Ozmint rambled for 52 yards to the Tiger 12.

Two plays later, Joseph Bright nailed a 27-yard field goal as tine expired, narrowing the gap to 10-9.

Glencoe’s opening drive of the second half ended on a sour note when a pass attempt off a fake punt was tipped and intercepted near midfield.

“We wanted to get that play in, but it didn’t work,” said Lee Ozmint. “But it didn’t cost us that much with the way our defense was clicking at that point.”

 The Jackets dodged that bullet when Cleburne County’s ensuing seven-play drive ended on a missed 38-yard field goal attempt.

The visitors were forced to punt on their second series of the second half, setting the stage for Glencoe’s game-winning drive.

Brown led the Yellow Jackets in tackles with 16, followed by Pace Ozmint with 12, Hunter Nunnally with 10 and Chance Duncan with seven. Taylor Daugherty had two sacks.

“This game was by no stretch a must-win,” said Lee Ozmint. “It was just a bunch of kids that love each other that fought through a whole heck of a lot of adversity. These kids would rather eat horse manure then let their brothers down, and that showed tonight. This is the most resilient football team I’ve ever been around, whether I played or coached for it.”

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