|'Necks outscore Tigers in OT|
|By GEORGE WHITELY | Sports Correspondent|
August 28, 2004 - WHITE OAK - Tyler Simmons plowed in from two yards out on fourth-and-short as the White Oak Roughnecks captured a thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over the Mount Vernon Tigers Friday night at Roughneck Stadium.
The touchdown was set up when quarterback Nathan Skeen was pushed out of bounds at the2-yard line on third down. White Oak coaches were in near unanimous agreement to go for the touchdown rather than the field goal. The lone objector was head coach Tracy Blankenship. He relented with one provision that Simmons get the call.
When the Roughnecks came to the line, they needed a yard for a first down and two yards for the win. Simmons took the handoff and appeared bottled up. He spun out of the traffic jam and pushed his way on into the end zone.
"The coaches told me to a man 'go for it.' I said put the ball in Tyler Simmons' hands, going north-south. We called the give to Tyler and they mashed him and they mashed him a second time. We got about four kids behind him and we mashed Tyler," said an obviously-elated Blankenship.
A critical defensive stop by the Roughneck defense on Mount Vernon's overtime possession forced a 30-yard field goal by Landry McGonagill. The sophomore placekicker was true and the Tigers grabbed a 31-28 lead. It marked the fourth time Mount Vernon had assumed a lead on White Oak. Each time, however, the Roughnecks seemed to have a response.
After a scoreless first period, the two teams locked up in a classic season opener. The Roughnecks managed to break the ice when Skeen paired up with Simmons on a 63-yard touchdown. Simmons caught the pass coming across and raced down the sideline. The PAT by Simmons made it 7-0 White Oak with less than two minutes elapsed in the second quarter.
Mount Vernon forged a tie as intermisson approached when Timothy Monroe scampered around left end from three yards out with just two ticks left before the break. McGonagill tacked on the extra point to polish off an 11-play, 73-yard march that used 4:52 of the play clock.
After the Tigers took a 14-7 lead with their initial drive of the third quarter, White Oak's Cory Dickerson nabbed a deflected pass from MV quarterback Colby Dickson and skated 42 yards to paydirt.
The fireworks really exploded in a fourth frame as both teams scored twice. Dickson paired up with Kendale Stoker on a 25-yard screen pass to give Mount Vernon a 21-14 lead with one minute gone in the fourth. White Oak would answer that when Skeen crashed in from a yard out at 8:55, pulling things even once again at 21-21.
White Oak was prepared to punt on fourth-and-two from the Mount Vernon 47 with a shade over nine minutes left to play. The Tigers called a timeout and the Roughnecks came back out on the field with their offense. Caught somewhat off guard, Skeen spotted an uncovered Scott Copeland for 46 yards and first-and-goal from the 1.
After Stoker tallied for a third time with 5:04 remaining, Skeen and Copeland paired up once again. The time, Copeland hauled in a 40-yard score to cap a brief three-play, 66-yard drive at 4:01. Skeen, in his varsity debut, finished with 208 yards on 8-of-13 with two TDs and one pick.
Dee Coleman paced the Roughneck ground attack with 86 yards on 20 carries. Stoker led the Tigers with 128 yards on 23 totes and two rushing TDs. Dickson had a solid night, completing 17-of-25 for 188 yards with one score and one interception. Stoker added five receptions for 60 yards and one tally in a losing cause.
The Roughnecks (1-0) visit cross-town rival Gladewater Friday, while the Tigers (0-1) are home to North Lamar.
First Downs 20 15
Rushing 38-157 32-130
Passing 188 208
Total 345 338
Pass C/A/I 17/25/1 8/13/1
Punts Avg. 3-35 3-37
Fumbles 0-0 1-0
Penalty 6-55 6-60
MTV 0 7 7 14 3 --31
WO 0 7 7 14 6 --34