J.R. Tidwell/FCT Tharptown quarterback Kelby Hallmark (10) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against Decatur Heritage Friday night.

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Tharptown falls to Decatur Heritage in overtime

Published 12:13am Saturday, September 22, 2012

THARPTOWN —At the end of the night it was the Decatur Heritage Eagles leaving Tharptown with a win, but the Wildcats made their opponent work for every bit of the victory.

The Eagles won 42-35 in double overtime after regulation ended in a 35-35 stalemate.

“You have got to come to play every game,” Tharptown head coach Bill Smith said. “I never would have dreamed this [would happen] after the past two weeks. They outplayed us and outcoached us. We never play a full ballgame.”

The Eagles started things off with a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:52 remaining in the first to go up 7-0.

Despite a Decatur Heritage interception, Tharptown put their first points on the board eight minutes later on a 1-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Kelby Hallmark.

The Eagles got another rushing touchdown four minutes later at 8:16 remaining in the first half. Tharptown answered with 20-yard touchdown pass from Hallmark to receiver Allen Bohannon. A conversion run by Bohannon on a reverse tied the score at 14-14 with 6:18 left in the second.

Decatur Heritage put two more scores on the board before halftime, taking a 28-14 lead into intermission.

Tharptown came out of the break on a mission, and that mission was to get back into the game, which they did indeed.

The Wildcats started the second half with a 17-play drive that spanned the field and chewed up 8:37 from the clock. The drive ended on a 2-yard TD keeper by Hallmark.

The Eagles scored again on a jailbreak screen pass, but Tharptown still would not lie down.

The Wildcats recovered a fumble with 11:26 remaining in the game, giving the team new life yet again.

They turned the turnover into 7 points with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Hallmark to senior receiver Edgar Bahena.

Freshman Chris Rickard of the Wildcats recovered the onside kick, and Tharptown tied the game at 35-35 on a 11-yard run and score by Hallmark.

The Wildcats defense did everything they could to stop Decatur Heritage on the next drive, and play became a game of inches.

Tharptown’s defense forced a turnover on downs at their own 10-yard line, but the ensuing drive ended in a missed field goal and overtime.

Neither team scored in the first overtime, but Decatur Heritage ended the game by putting seven points on the board in the second overtime period that the Wildcats could not match.

“This group can bounce back better than other teams we’ve had,” Smith said. I see it in their faces and hear it in their voices.”

The Wildcats (2-2, 2-1) will travel to Cherokee next Friday night.

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