Eren Welford drilled an 18-yard field goal as time expired to lift George County to a comeback 35-32 win over Ocean Springs in a key Region 4-6A football game Friday.
Welford’s field goal was set up by a defensive stand inside the Rebels 10 and a 91-yard drive engineered by Rebels quarterback LaRaymond Spivery, who finished with 277 yards rushing on 24 carries and 189 yards passing on 16-of-27 attempts with a pick.
With just under six minutes left to play in the game, and following a 3-yard Cole Contestable scoring run set up by Spivery who sparked the drive with 76 yards rushing on five carries, the Greyhounds (4-4, 1-3) took over at their own 38 with the score tied at 32 each. A 45 yard connection from Malcom Magee to Davontay Keys took the ball to the 17.
However, Ocean Springs’ drive stalled deep in Rebels territory and the Greyhounds faced a fourth-and-two from the George County 9. Knowing that his defense had trouble stopping Spivery all night, Greyhounds coach Ryan Ross decided to go for the touchdown instead of sending his field goal team to the field.
Never miss a local story.
“We also missed two PATs earlier in the game, so it was no guarantee we would get the field goal,” he said. “I wanted to go up seven instead of three, particularly since they had 3:09 left and all three timeouts.”
Ocean Springs had been successful on fourth down against George County (5-3, 3-1), converting five previous fourth down plays. However, with the game on the line, the Rebels defensive line, with Justice Havens reaching Greyhounds quarterback Malcom Magee, came through with strong pressure, forcing a poor throw which fell incomplete, giving George County the ball at their own 9.
“That stand was a lot of guts,” said Rebels coach Matt Caldwell. “They could have let (Ocean Springs) score, but they fought hard and gave us the ball back.”
For most of the game, the Rebels passing game had sputtered, with Spivery doing most of his damage on the ground. With the game on the line, though, the senior quarterback hit Tyrese Fryfogle for 13 yards and Dwan Williams for 8 yards to get the ball to midfield. Spivery returned to the ground game, five times for 29 yards to get the ball to the Greyhounds 35 with 35 seconds left in the game.
Sprivery found Kaleb Gentry for 13 yards before going back to Williams on a 22-yard strike at the front corner of the end zone. Williams fell out of bounds at the 1 with six seconds left to go in the game, setting up Welford’s field goal.
“We have two guys at receiver,” Caldwell said. “I told them to take a shot with one of them. We wanted to take one shot into the endzone and then kick it.”
The Welford field goal completed a 15-point comeback for the Rebels.
On Ocean Springs’s second possession of the game, Daveaunce Gaines ripped a 28-yard run before Magee would sprint in from 52 yards to put the Greyhounds up 6-0. Ethan Utterback kicked a 31 yard field goal following a Spivery interception and Keys recovered a high Rebels punt snap in the endzone for the Greyhounds second touchdown of the game.
Spivery ripped off an 80-yard run with eight minutes left in the first half to cut the Greyhounds lead back to nine, 16-7, before Gaines responded with a 36-yard run a minute later to push the lead back out to 15, 22-7.
George County scored 15 over the last seven minutes of the second quarter — a 1-yard plunge by McKinnley Jackson, a safety off a bad punt snap, and a 13 yard scoring run by Spivery — to tie the game at 22-22 at the halftime break.
The Rebels opened the scoring in third with a 27-yard Wellford field goal. The Greyhounds responded behind a 19 yard Elijah Burrus run and a 25 yard Utterback field goal to take a seven point, 32-25 lead with 6:57 left in the game.
Fryfogle finished with five catches for 51 yards to go over 1,000 yards receiving on the year. He now has 1,019 yards receiving on 63 catches. Williams stepped closer to 1,000 yards receiving with five catches for 54 yards. He now has 877 yards receiving on 56 catches.
Gaines led the Ocean Springs offense with 118 yards on 18 carries. Magee added 69 yards on 12 carries and was 9-of-15 passing for 97 yards. Austin Williams caught six passes for 41 yards, mostly converting key third and fourth downs, and Keys finished with two catches for 47 yards.
“It was a very big win,” Caldwell said, adding the Rebels had beaten Ocean Springs once over the last decade. “In this region, anybody can beat anybody on any given night. This region has a lot of parity. This gives us some separation in the region.”