Caledonia's Hunter Harris celebrates after his team recovers a Pontotoc fumble in the third quarter. Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
October 14, 2018 12:45:41 AM
By Don Rowe
Special to the Dispatch
CALEDONIA - A blocked extra point just before halftime and a missed 2-point conversion attempt in overtime came back to haunt Caledonia, as the Confederates came out on the short end of a heartbreaking 28-27 loss to Pontotoc in their annual Homecoming contest here Friday.
On the flip side, junior placekicker Jolan Mills' successful point-after kick in overtime provided the razor-thin margin of victory for the visiting Warriors (8-1, 3-0 MHSAA Class 4A, Region 2) who came into the game as the No. 3 ranked 4A team in the state in the latest Mississippi AP high school football poll.
In the extra period, Caledonia had the ball first and Brandon Edmondson scored on a 5-yd. keeper on the third play from scrimmage. But Pontotoc cornerback Ralph Dunn intercepted his pass in the end zone on the conversion try to keep the deficit at six points.
Two plays later, Pontotoc senior Gabe Harmon scored on a 5-yard run on which a missed tackle back at the 8-yard-line allowed him to plow through several more Confederate defenders to tie the game at 27-27. Mills' fourth point-after kick then won the game for the Warriors.
"We didn't take care of business tonight, and that goes from the top down as coaches to the players," said Pontotoc head coach Jeff Carter following the game. "Hats off to Caledonia for their effort, but at the same time we learned a valuable lesson and that is you can't take anybody for granted."
Caledonia (3-5, 1-2) led 21-14 at the half thanks to an offensive unit which accounted for 246 yards total offense - 202 yards rushing and an additional 44 yards passing. Edmondson was responsible for 112 yards rushing, while freshman Darquez Williams (48) and Jedarius Gore (35) chipped in with 83 additional yards on the ground combined.
"Brandon (Edmondson) played his rear end off," said Caledonia head coach Michael Kelly. "He put us in the position to win the ballgame and he and the punt team did a good job especially in the second half. Overall, the entire team played about as well as they could have."
In that second half, however, the Confederates were shutout on the scoreboard as they could muster just 73 yards total offense. Edmondson (46), Gore (3) and Williams (1) were held to a combined 50 yards total.
"After a poor first half, we did a great job defensively in the second half," said Carter.
Pontotoc tied things up at 21-all on its first possession of the second half on a 3-yd. plunge by Harmon and Mills' point-after kick to cap a 9-play, 76-yd. drive which featured quarterback Justin Carter accounting for 66 yards through the air on four completions - three of which went to Caleb Hobson for a total of 44 yards. Out-first downed 12-4 in the first half, Pontotoc doubled its first down total with four more en route to Harmon's touchdown.
Minutes earlier, Hobson had broken loose for a 58-yd. touchdown on the second half kickoff, but a holding call nullified the score.
On its next possession, Pontotoc missed out on an opportunity to take the lead when a 51-yard pass completion by Carter on a middle screen was fumbled and then recovered by Caledonia's Camden Hurst at his own 15-yard-line.
Neither team would mount a serious scoring threat the remainder of the game which turned into a punting duel between Miles Galloway and Edmondson.
Pontotoc, who was giving up only 11.4 points per game, was shocked when Caledonia opened the game with a 6-play, 77-yard drive capped by an 8-yard run by Gore on which he ran through no less than three Warrior defensive players. Edmondson's pass to Hurst for two gave the Confederates a quick 8-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.
Gore's 41-yard reception on a pass from Edmondson on which he bobbled the ball before regaining control and a 20-yard keeper by Edmondson accounted for 61 of the drive's 77 yards.
Twenty-four seconds later, Harmon scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 56-yd. sprint to the end zone, and Mills added the point after to cut the deficit to one point at 8-7.
Caledonia failed to move the ball on its second possession, so Pontotoc took over on its own 36 and Cade Armstrong quickly scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 64-yd. run followed by Mills' second PAT kick for a 14-8 Warrior lead.
Undaunted, Caledonia responded with a masterful 12-play, 89-yard drive - all of which came on the ground save the last play, a 3-yard touchdown pass from Edmondson to Darrius Triplett. Logan Powell's point after split the uprights for a 15-14 lead with 9:04 left in the second quarter.
Edmondson, who took a beating from the Pontotoc defenders throughout the game, was credited with 45 yards on the drive on eight keepers, while Williams picked up an additional 16 yards.
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