OCEAN SPRINGS -- Nothing was going through Brad Wall's mind. As the senior Ocean Springs kicker watched his team methodically work its way down Hugh Pepper Field at Greyhound Stadium on Friday night, he was at piece with the high probability his number would be called to win the game.
And it was.
Trailing by one point with time rapidly running out, the No. 1 Greyhounds methodically marched down field against No. 3 St. Martin, collecting chunks of yardage at a time. After converting a fourth-and-2 four plays earlier, Ocean Springs sent out Wall to claim senior night for the home Greyhounds.
The snap was good and although the 45-yard kick wasn't pretty, spiraling end over end tailing left, it tucked just inside the left upright to give Ocean Springs a 31-29 victory.
"It was beautiful," Ocean Springs coach Ryan Ross said. "Just beautiful."
Wall said he approached the kick just like any other.
"I just had a clear mind. I've done this so much that it just came natural," he said. "I don't really even remember the kick. I don't really pay attention when I kick, it just happens."
Once it left his foot, Wall said he didn't even watch the ball. So how'd he know it was good?
"I kept my head down and wasn't really looking at it," he said. "I waited for the crowd to let me know."
The win puts Gulfport and Ocean Springs (8-1, 5-0) in a collision course next week at Milner Stadium with both schools undefeated in 4-6A.
The late-game theatrics wouldn't have been possible had it not been for St. Martin's 80-yard drive that ate up nearly nine precious minutes on the clock.
Going for two
Almost all on the ground, the Yellow Jackets (8-2, 3-2) pieced together an 18-play drive that was punctuated by Wayne Overman III's 2-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal. After pulling Ocean Springs offsides on the extra-point attempt, St. Martin coach Eddie Wayne Whitehead looked to snap the school's nine-game skid in the series by going for two.
On an identical play to the touchdown, Overman powered his way through the right side of the line to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 29-28.
"I told them when we started the drive that if we got down there were were going to try and go for two to finish it off right there," Whitehead said. "We did an awesome job of driving down the field and punching it in, and then to finish it off with a two-point conversion, the kids showed a lot of heart."
Leading the way
Matthew Pleasant proved to be a big-play threat for Ocean Springs. The running back finished with 148 yards and three touchdowns, none bigger than his last-a 47-yard scamper to set up the final thrilling minutes. With the game tied 21-21 three plays into the fourth quarter, Pleasant took a handoff to the left side, cut back up the middle and found a seam in the defense.
"The O-line did a good job. Green. All I saw was green," he said. "When I got the ball I turned and saw a huge hole so I was like, 'good bye.'"
Quarterback Drew Windham completed 7 of 15 passes for 109 yards. His go-to target, Austin Williams, caught four passes for 76 yards, all in the second half.
Overman led St. Martin, completing 10 of 14 passes for 106 yards with a 21-yard touchdown to Kaleb Clark. He was also picked off in the end zone late in the first half by Malcom Magee. Overman finished with 129 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Tyler Polk wasn't far behind with 126 yards rushing.
Still jostling for playoff seeding, St. Martin will need to regroup quickly as it travels to George County before hosting D'Iberville Nov. 6 to close out the regular season.