LUCEDALE — It seemed pretty ironic that George County quarterback Deuce Knight made his first appearance of the season for the Rebels Friday night.
That’s because on the same night number two took his first snap of the season in Lucedale, the Rebels suffered their second loss of the current campaign.
Visiting Hattiesburg fought back from an eight-point deficit with less than a minute left in regulation, to pull out an exciting 34-28 overtime win at Gill-Martin Stadium.
The decision moved the Hub City Tigers to 4-2 overall on the season, while the Rebels dropped to the same 4-2 mark.
After forcing the home team to turn the ball over on downs in the first series of the extra session, Hattiesburg’s Tavares Wade bullied his way into the end zone from 10 yards out on the Tigers’ first play in overtime for the win.
“Great game, kids played their hearts out. I was just glad to get out of here with a win.” Hattiesburg head coach Tony Vance said.
George County led 7-6 entering the second half, and Knight accounted for a trio of second-half scores to put the Rebels ahead 28-20 with just minutes to play.
Knight scrambled for a 24-yard touchdown a little over 5 minutes into the quarter to extend the home-field advantage to 14-6.
Hattiesburg, however, was determined to make a game of it, and the Tigers quickly clawed back and even took the lead with back-to-back scores as the rest of the period unfolded.
DeMarcus Baker returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, to cut the deficit to 14-12. Then, after yet another GCHS fumble, the Tigers got a 24-yard scoring scamper from quarterback Deuce Vance to take their first lead of the night. After tailback Tavares Wade tacked on the two-point conversion, the count was 20-14 Tigers.
But the Rebels responded.
Knight found D.J. McNair on a 23-yard scoring strike to return the lead to the Rebels.
Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Knight scored on a 4-yard run to extend the advantage to 28-20.
George County turned the ball over on downs at the Hattiesburg 37 with right around two minutes to play, and the Tigers moved quickly to knot the game up in the waning seconds when Vance galloped in for a 25-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion by Wade was once again successful, and the game was tied up at 28-28 and headed into overtime and the climactic finish.
The only scoring in the first half came on a 20-yard scoring run by George County’s Brandon Gautier and also on a 42-yard run by Wade for Hattieburg.
Both Knight and Vance had scoring runs called back because of penalties in the first half. On the night, Knight lost three fumbles as the Rebels committed five turnovers.
It marked the second consecutive overtime game for GCHS, who nipped Wayne County 14-13 last week. The game was the first meeting between the two teams since the first round of the 2007 state playoffs. The Rebels were looking to start a season off at 5-1 for the first time in 16 years, since 2007, the only year that GCHS played for the state championship.
George County remains at home next week, opening Region 4-6A play against Long Beach.