Clay scored on the first play of overtime on Joey Dezarn’s 9-yard run and quarterback Zack McGeorge added the conversion. Garrard answered when Wilson scored on a 3-yard run. He was stopped on the conversion, but Clay was called for a face mask and Wilson ran it in on the next play to make it 32-all.
Both teams turned the ball over in the second overtime and neither team scored in the third.
Garrard got the ball first in the fourth overtime and Wilson scored on a 2-yard run on fourth down, then blasted in for the conversion to make it 40-32.
McGeorge also scored on fourth down on Clay’s next possession. But on the conversion try, Bradley Rector pressured George into throwing a low pass to give Garrard the win.
The Garrard defense held the bigger Tigers to 121 yards rushing on 41 carries and outgained them 287-228.
“We are small, but like Coach said we run all the time, we get our conditioning,”¿ linebacker Bret Dowell, who was named player of the game, said. “We’re a lot faster than some people, and we’ve just got to do our job.”
It was a game full of momentum swings and plenty of injury timeouts due to cramping on both sides.
But Scenters had preached conditioning all season to make up for the Lions’ lack of size, and that conditioning paid off at just the right time.
“You know at some point, you’re going to have to use your conditioning and face adversity. You know that in the first few weeks of the season, conditioning is going to be enormous,” he said. “I do believe our conditioning allowed us to hang in.”
Garrard made all the plays to force overtime after falling behind.
Garrard led 16-0 at the half, but Clay stormed back to lead 24-16 thanks to two McGeorge touchdown runs, a TD run from Shannon Hoskins, and Zack Kemp caught a pass over the middle to convert on a fourth-and-26 that led to George’s last score.
“They made an unbelievable play. We may have been a hair out of position, but an unbelievable play by them,”¿Scenters said. “What impressed me is how Clay County, who about halfway through the second quarter I thought our conditioning was getting ready to take over — they came out in the third quarter and absolutely basically gutted through two more ballgames.”
Garrard had 2 minutes, 59 seconds to make something happen after Clay took the lead, and Wilson did by getting a good return on the kickoff to Clay’s 42-yard line, then a personal foul call started Garrard at the Tigers’ 27.
A diving catch over the middle by Austin Napier on fourth down gained 18 yards and set up a 1-yard touchdown sneak by Billy Abney with 44 seconds to go. Hayes went in for the two-point conversion to make it 24-all after regulation.
“Our seniors made play after play after play. There was that huge pick by Austin down there on fourth and 7. There were three or four huge runs by Cory and Markel. And every two point conversion was a 3-yard war,”¿Scenters said. “And to be able to get it in the way we were was huge.
“Every team thrives on momentum a bit, and that huge return gave us some momentum and out kids never stopped believing.”
Garrard dominated the first half, outgaining Clay 175-29 and leading 16-0.
Garrard mounted a six-play, 65-yard drive to open the game.
Abney’s 32-yard pass to Tyler McCoy set up Wilson’s 3-yard blast as the Lions led 8-0 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
It stayed that way until Abney hit McCoy for a 25-yard scoring pass with 1:57 left in the half.
Abney was 6-for-15 passing for 89 yards and two interceptions and McCoy hauled in three passes for 53 yards.
It was the first opening win by Garrard since 2006, and Wilson said the Lions will have plenty of confidence for Saturday’s game with Danville in the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic.
“It gives us momentum. We’re just going to play every game one at a time. We’re going to have fun with this one for a little bit then we’re going to go on to the next game and get ready for Danville,” Wilson said.