By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
It was a case of “last score wins,” and the last score of the night went to Corner’s Austin Sanford in a very big way.
Just seconds after visiting Oak Grove had tied the game in the fourth quarter, Sanford took the subsequent kickoff and ran back 81 yards for the game-winning score, as the Yellow Jackets bested the Tigers 35-28 Friday night.
Sanford’s final touchdown, his second of the night, was the third score in a span of 34 seconds. It started when Corner quarterback Blake Byrd finished off a lengthy drive with a 3-yard scoring run to take a 7-point lead with 8:35 left to play.
But on the second play of the Tigers’ following possession, Stephen Hooper threw a halfback-option pass to Daniel Murkerson for 56 yards and a touchdown to knot the game at 28-28, setting up Sanford’s winning TD.
Oak Grove opened the scoring with a 27-yard run by Trey Prestridge late in the first quarter. But Corner answered quickly on the following drive, when quarterback Blake Byrd fired a 35-yard pass to Kerry Smith for the tying score.
Hooper then followed with a score on a 33-yard run, but Sanford countered with a 62-touchdown ramble with 1:19 left in the first half.
Hooper grabbed the lead right back for the Tigers (1-5, 1-3 region) on an 11-yard scoring run four minutes into the second half.
But the Jackets (3-3, 2-2 region) tied and then took the lead on a pair of 3-yard scoring runs, the first by Deshay Averhart and the second by Byrd which set the late scoring frenzy into motion.
Sanford finished the night with 94 yards rushing on seven carries.
Byrd was 7-for-10 passing with one interception. Smith caught three receptions for 72 yards.
Prestridge led Oak Grove with 121 yards on 23 carries; Hooper ran for 94 yards on 18 rushes.
Tiger quarterback Austin Lawrence was 6-for-9 passing with one pickoff for 61 yards; Hooper’s touchdown toss on the trick play was his only pass attempt.
On defense for Corner, John Bassett had five tackles with two sacks, and knocked down two Lawrence passes. Zac Yasko had five tackles and seven assists.