Streaking The Other Way: Como-Pickton comes from behind to break 14-game string
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Sept. 9, 2007 - COMO - After 14 games and nearly two years since their last homecoming win, the Como-Pickton Eagles finally got the monkey off their backs with a 22-18 come-from-behind win over the Celeste Blue Devils Friday night at Ron Heflin Field.
Their last win of the regular season and homecoming contests dated back to the 2005 season with a 30-27 win over the Alba-Golden Panthers.
C-P sophomore running back James Carter scored the game-winner with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run up the middle capping off a 12-play, 59-yard drive. Noe Tellez booted the PAT good.
"The last touchdown we knew that we had to score," Carter said. "Everybody thought that we were going to lose because we went 0-10 last year. We had to score, and we tried to do everything that we could to score."
CPHS first-year coach Paul Tullis said this win will hopefully send the team and the season in the right direction now that he has his first win at the school.
"I think the win is the biggest motivator that they have right now," the coach explained. "They got one and I think they will want some more. We had a lot of fire during practices and I think we will keep that up and the kids are really starting to buy into it. I think the little bit of success that we got tonight will build on itself. "
In the first half, the Eagles had three drives which stalled inside the Celeste 20-yard line as CPHS opened the game with a 14-play drive which ended on the Blue Devils 3-yard line. On fourth-and-1, Noe Tellez went for the quarterback sneak but was stopped at the line of scrimmage as the ball was turned over on downs.
After a fumble by Celeste on its opening drive, the Eagles marched down to the 15-yard line and on fourth-and-2, Tellez missed a 32-yard field goal with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter.
On the Eagles next drive, quarterback Austin Darby fumbled the ball on the Como-Pickton 12-yard line as Celeste recovered. On an attempted pass by Celeste, the Eagles were called for pass interference. On first-and-goal, junior fullback Chris Sephus punched it in from a yard out for the 6-0 lead. The Blue Devils missed the PAT.
Celeste then put together a nine-play drive capped off with an 8-yard pass from Justin Wright to Fritz Vale for the 12-0 lead with 51 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, Carter returned it 68 yards down to the Celeste 17-yard line. After a 12-yard run by Tellez, Darby threw an interception to Chase Enis - who returned it 100 yards to paydirt for Celeste's 18-0 halftime lead.
"It was the same song with the second, third, fourth and fifth verse in the first half," Tullis said. "Those are the things that we have been working on and we need to be able to finish plays and drives and score, and we did that in the second half."
On the Eagles' opening drive of the second half, C-P put together a 13-play, 85-yard drive as Tellez went in for the quarterback sneak to cut the deficit to 18-7. CPHS used a heavy dose of Carter during the drive as he had 32 yards on six carries.
Tullis said the drive was a key point in how the second half played out for the Eagles to gain the momentum for the remainder of the game.
"That was a big drive and most of our offense is based on 10-to-15-play drives," Tullis explained. "We have to eliminate penalties and fumbles on those long drives and I don't think we had a penalty on that drive. That was a big reason why we were able to overcome it and get down there and score and punch it in."
Carter got the Eagles to within a field goal with 11:15 remaining in the fourth on a 58-yard scamper down the left sideline and then scored on the conversion for an 18-15 deficit.
"Like I said earlier in the week, the first victory is always the most important one you can get. If you don't get it, then it is an ugly season and we had a lot of adversity tonight in the first half," Tullis said. "We threw the interception for like 100 yards at the end of the first half trying to get the score down to a one score game. I really challenged the kids at the half and they came out and played great in the second half."
Carter wrapped up the night with 20 carries for 155 yards and one touchdown, while Tellez had 11 carries for 43 yards. He also went 3-of-6 for 19 yards passing.
"It was very important to get this win and I was tired of losing," Carter said. "We went 0-10 last year and we had to make a change and we are a good team to do that."
The Eagles (1-1) are off this Friday night and will travel to face Gilmer Union Hill in two weeks. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
"We have got to practice hard and train hard," Carter said about the upcoming break. "Everybody still thinks that we are the underdog so we have got to go and show everybody what we can do."