The Crimson Tide’s young sophomores played like grown men Friday night at Benton in front of a large, homecoming crowd.
Tavarius Edwards caught the two-point conversion from Antonio Rivette that gave Minden High a stunning 25-24 overtime win, propelling Minden into the district 1-4A driver’s seat.
“At that point I started thinking about would we go for one or two after we score.”
“They got the ball first in overtime and were able to punch it in and add the extra point,” Crimson Tide head coach Spencer Heard said.
Rivette found Kelcey Miller on a play-action rollout pass to match the Benton score. At that point the Tide called a timeout.
“I walked over to Coach Ensminger and told him I was thinking about going for two,” Heard said. “He said thats exactly what I was thinking. We had a play called out of the timeout but ended up changing it with about 15 seconds on the gameclock. Benton brought pressure off the edge, Antonio got the ball out and Tavarius made just a spectacular catch. The rest is history.”
The win catapults the Tide into a first place tie in district and gives Minden momentum as the regular season nears its end. Heard is hopeful the Tide can ride this wave of emotion into the playoffs.
“It’s huge,” Heard said. “It’s big for their mentality right now. It shows the character of this team to keep going and keep fighting even with all the negative stuff before the half.”
Right before intermission, the Tide gave Benton the ball on the 10 yard line after a bad snap over the punter’s head on fourth down. That led to a Benton score and a 14-3 halftime deficit.
In the second half the Tide would find their rhythm when L’Jarius Sneed took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a score.
“I told the guys at halftime we needed a spark on special teams,” Heard said. “Then, boom, we take one back. That was the play that gave us the momentum shift we needed and got us back in the game. It was a battle from there.”
The Crimson Tide defense stood tall in the second half, forcing a fumble and picking off three Benton passes in the game. Trailing 14-10 in the third quarter the Minden defense recovered a Benton fumble setting up the Tide in Tiger territory. Rivette found Edwards for 29 yards down inside the 20 yard line. Then Antonio Rivette faked a handoff to Kolby Jackson and darted around the left side reaching paydirt and giving the Tide a 17-14 lead. Benton would answer with a field goal to notch it at 17-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Benton had possession late in the game, driving inside the Minden 20 yard line for what looked like the game winning score. Then, on third down and seven from the Tide 10 yard line the Tigers attempted a pass near the goal line where L’Jarius Sneed stepped in front for the crucial interception.
Minden would stall on their final possession of regulation, moving the game into overtime where the Minden magic happened.
The overtime period would have never been possible if not for a first half Pedro Hernandez 30 yard field goal.
“Pedro had a groin issue earlier in the year,” Heard said. “He’s feeling better now and his kicking has really come on as of late. It’s getting to the point that when we get down in the red zone we feel good about him being able to make kicks.”
Antonio Rivette finished 10 of 23 passing for 56 yards and a touchdown, with 83 yards and a score on the ground also.
Kolby Jackson gained 74 yards rushing and Rodtravion Rogers added 24 tough yards. Tavarius Edwards led receivers with 62 yards on four catches and Kelcey Miller had 10 yards and a touchdown in overtime for the Tide.
Dekeltric Freelon picked off two passes for Minden and L’Jarius Sneed was key with his 85 yard kickoff return for touchdown and a late pick. The Tide is now 5-2 overall and 4-1 in district play.