After trailing 21-7 with eight minutes remaining, Vancleave put together a stunning comeback to beat East Central 23-21 on a last-second field goal Friday night in the season opener.
Taylor Crabtree kicked a 43-yard field goal as time ran off the clock to clinch the win in the Pascagoula River Bowl in Hurley.
“Our kids, I have to give them credit,” Vancleave coach Jim Bloomfield said. “They never hung their heads. They stayed focused on what we had to do. Our kicking game and special teams showed out.”
The rally started for Vancleave on an East Central fumble at its own 20.
Senior running back Marlon Warren made the Hornets pay for the mistake with an 8-yard run to make it 21-14 with 7 minutes left.
Vancleave recovered a successful onside kick and drove down the 20, where senior Walter Williams made an athletic catch on a pass from Parker Bourque.
The two-point conversion failed, but Vancleave again came through with another onside kick.
Bourque connected with Noah Sherman and Hayden Johnson on the first two plays of the drive.
Another short toss to Sherman near the sideline set the Bulldogs up for Crabtree’s winning kick.