VANCLEAVE -David Capers powered in from the 1-yard line on fourth-and-goal with three minutes left, lifting Vancleave to a 25-24 win over Moss Point on Friday.
The win breaks a five-game losing streak for Vancleave (3-5, 1-1 Region 8-4A).
"We've had a few tough situations at school and have been in a funk the last five weeks," said Bulldogs coach Lavon Capers. "We didn't want to go 0-2 in the region. (Region games) are where it counts. We have a chance to win it all."
The Bulldogs close the season against Bay High, Pass Christian, and East Central.
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Vancleave held a 19-12 lead at intermission but Moss Point turned up the defensive pressure in the third quarter and held the Bulldogs without a first down in the second half.
While Vancleave was having trouble moving the ball, a long punt return by Tre'von Dubose to the Bulldogs 27 and a Vancleave fumble allowed Moss Point to take a 24-19 lead going into the final quarter with Omni Wells throwing a 4-yard pass to Travis Marion on fourth down for a touchdown and pushing in from 1-yard out with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
However, with 9:32 left to play, Parker Bourque connected with Cade Posey on a 28-yard pass play for the Bulldogs first first down of the second half, moving the ball to the Tigers' 39. Six plays and two first downs, later, Vancleave had the ball on the Tigers 4, facing a third-and-two.
Twice on fourth down, the Bulldogs turned to Capers. On fourth-and-one from the Moss Point 3, Capers gained two to give the Bulldogs a new set of downs. However, Devin Simpson and Dewanye Sipp led a strong Tigers' defensive stand, forcing a fourth-and-goal from the 1. Again the ball would be placed in Capers' hands and again delivered to give Vancleave a one-point lead.
"The Moss Point defense did a great job down there," Lavon Capers said. "They made us work for it. (On fourth down), our offensive line got a great push and our fullback got it in for us."
Moss Point had a final drive, taking over at their 30 with just under three minutes left and a timeout remaining. After Cal'terrius Anderson gained 14 on the drive's initial play, the Vancleave defense made a stand at midfield, forcing a fourth-and-1 with just over a minute left.
"I thought we could score if we got the first down," said Moss Point coach Willie Brown.
Brown called for a quarterback sneak, but the middle of the Vancleave defensive line created a stalemate along the line of scrimmage and did not allow Wells to reach the first down line.
Vancleave took an initial 10-0 lead behind a 46-yard field goal by Taylor Crabtree and a 10 yard Dylon Mallette run.
Moss Point responded behind Anderson, who scored twice in the second quarter on an 18-yard run and a 74-yard run. Anderson led Moss Point with 201 yards on 17 carries. However, Moss Point failed to convert on any of its touchdowns, with two point-after kicks fell short of the goal posts and two running attempts stopped by Vancleave.
Vancleave responded late in the second quarter with an 11-yard Mallette run and a 37-yard Crabtree field goal, his second field goal of the night. Mallette would finish with 161 yards on 30 carries for Vancleave. Parker Bourque was 4-of-6 for 76 yards. David Capers had eight stops and a fumble recovery to lead the Vancleave defense.