GAUTIER — Resurrection lost the battle against visiting Lumberton Thursday night, but the Eagles won the war.
For now, anyway.
Lumberton scored a touchdown with less than a minute to play to pull out an exciting 19-14 win over the Eagles in a big Region 8-1A contest at Vaughan-Wallace Stadium in the regular season finale for both squads.
While the loss is just the second of the season overall for RCS as well as the first league defeat for the Eagles, head coach Eric Denmark’s squad still clinched the Eagles’ first region title in eight years due to tie-breaker procedures.
Resurrection wraps up the regular season at 8-2 overall and 4-1 in the region race, while both Lumberton and Sacred Heart also finished 4-1 in league play. The 12-point tie-breaker system results in RCS as the top seed, SHHS the second seed and LHS the third seed in the region standings.
That means that the Eagles will open the Class 1A South State playoffs at home next Friday. It is expected that RCS will host French Camp in the first round back in Gautier.
“I was proud of the guys in the second half,” Denmark, in his second season at the helm of RCS, said. “It’s not the outcome we wanted, but the best thing for the team was to win the region title and play at home next week and that’s what we did.”
After trailing 13-0 at halftime, Resurrection put together a pair of scoring drives in the second half to take a slight 14-13 advantage.
Resurrection got a 16-yard scoring run from Brice Brown mid-way through the third frame to cut the deficit to 13-7.
Then, with a little less than three minutes to play, Resurrection’s Daniel Pickens scored a rushing touchdown and Ian Cumbest’s second extra point of the night made it 14-13 late in the contest.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as Lumberton quarterback Lathen Bowens guided his team quickly down the field and he completed a 30-yard scoring strike for what proved to be the winning points.
After a scoreless first quarter, which included a missed 47-yard field goal by RCS, Lumberton went to work in the second stanza to jump ahead 13-0 going into halftime thanks to a pair of late touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half.
The Panthers opened the scoring with 3:19 on the clock on a 37-yard touchdown toss by Bowen, and then after picking off an RCS pass the Panthers got a 68-yard scoring play on the final play of the first half made the count 13-0. entering the second half.
In addition to the missed field goal in the first half, the Eagles also turned the ball over on downs at the Lumberton 36 later in the half.
“We didn’t look too good in the first half, Denmark said. “We as coaches got out of our game plan and tried some stuff that didn’t work. But we came back in the second half and played much better. It’s not fun to lose but we’re number one and we’ll take it.”