MURRAY – Mayfield and Murray played the brand of football one would expect, especially with a First District title on the line. So to have both teams go into overtime would seem about right.
Both rivals played a near mirror image game of grinding runs that tore through the turf of Ty Holland Stadium’s field which were met by stout defenses that churned up more mud and mire.
But it was the passing plays by Cardinal quarterback Zane Cartwright and Murray’s Rowdy Sokolowski where it all came down to in the 10-yard stance in overtime Friday night.
After playing the final near 20 minutes of regulation locked in a 14-14 battle, Mayfield got their first chance to try and reach the end zone from the 10 yard line. Cartwright threw two incomplete passes, but on the third caught Ben Gloyd’s outstretched hand. Gloyd then hopped toward the end zone and made a dive to cross the line to push ahead with the point after kick, 21-14.
The Tigers got a four-yard gain from Brendan Dahncke on first down, then Sokolowski – who made the winning score in overtime last week against Caldwell County – scored on his own run to get within a point. Murray opted to go for the win with a 2-point pass play, but that pass was batted down by Nathan Watkins to seal the game for the Cardinals, 21-20.
Mayfield head coach Joe Morris was thrilled with the outcome in overtime but focused on what kept his team in the game and got them to the point for the victory.
“Our guys just kept fighting. The good thing was we moved the ball enough to keep them backed up and our defense was fantastic. That offense that they run is tough to stop,” he said. “To win this game with four turnovers in the first half against a really good football team, we’re really lucky to get away with a win.”
The Cardinals (6-1, 3-0 in First District 2A) took advantage of the first fumble at Murray’s 21 yard line that resulted in Jutarious Starks’ 11 yard score in the first quarter. The Tigers (4-3, 1-1) responded on their next possession, spurred by a 31-yard run by Dahncke and capped by his own 11-yard run to tie things.
Murray went up in the second quarter with Charvelle McCallister’s 15 yard run that kept the Tigers on good footing until the second half. There, on fourth and 2 from Murray’s 40, Tre Barnes sprinted in for the tying score that would eventually set up overtime and Mayfield’s win.
“We’re not as talented to make a big play like we did last year. We’ve got to grind it out,” Morris added. “After McCracken beat us (in the season opener, 42-7), I don’t think anyone would put us where we are. That’s hats off to our kids.”
Mayfield 7 0 7 0 7 – 21
Murray 7 7 0 0 6 - 20
MAY – Jutarious Starks 11 run (Lincoln Suiter kick), 5:03 1Q
MUR – Brendan Dahncke 11 run (Caden Cain kick), 1:43 1Q
MUR – Charvelle McCallister 15 run (Cain kick), 5:52 2Q
MAY – Tre Barnes 40 run (Suiter kick), 7:45 3Q
MAY – Ben Gloyd 10 pass from Zane Cartwright (Suiter kick) OT
MUR – Rowdy Sokolowski 6 run (2 pt. Pass failed) OT