Play of the game: Verbena’s Quandarius Ray (No. 4) returned a fumble about 85 yards for a touchdown with 9 seconds remaining in Friday’s game to give the Red Devils a win over visiting Thorsby.
Play of the game: Verbena’s Quandarius Ray (No. 4) returned a fumble about 85 yards for a touchdown with 9 seconds remaining in Friday’s game to give the Red Devils a win over visiting Thorsby.

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85-yard fumble recovery return lifts Verbena over Thorsby

Published 1:07am Saturday, August 30, 2014

Visiting Thorsby seemed poised to score and break a 6-all tie with less than 1 minute to play in Friday’s game at Verbena.

The Rebels drove to within Verbena’s 15-yard line, needing only a single point to win the game.

But then the unthinkable happened.

Two Red Devils converged on the Thorsby quarterback for a sack, and one of those Verbena players, Quandarius Ray, wrestled the ball from the THS player and raced about 85 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 9 seconds remaining on the clock.

“We had a couple of little breakdowns there in the fourth quarter, but we kept fighting,” VHS coach Mike Harris said. “I just told the kids, ‘You keep playing, and the cream will rise to the top.’”

The game was Verbena’s first of the season, while Thorsby opened last week with a win over Holtville.

For most of the game, it seemed one score might be enough to win it.

Thorsby broke the scoreless tie with 11:50 on the clock in the third quarter, on a five-yard run by Chris Brown.

Thorsby’s point-after attempt was blocked, which allowed Verbena to tie the game at 6-all on a three-yard run by Hakeen Underwood that was set up by an interception and return by Anthony Miller.

A two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, with 5:56 left to play in the game.

The teams traded punts until Thorsby seemed to be headed for the win, only to be shocked by Ray’s strip and run.

Thorsby had one final possession, but a desperation heave of a pass was intercepted by Dorrian Parker to ice the game.

Harris said the Red Devils must improve on offense before next week’s area match-up at Autaugaville.

“We’ve got to work on our blocking, our line,” Harris said. “We just didn’t block at all.”

The Thorsby defense, especially Tyler Owens, surely had something to do with the struggles.

The Rebels will try move their record back up above .500 when they visit Pickens County for a region tilt next week.

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