Isabella outlasts Verbena in a shootout

Published 11:39 am Saturday, August 27, 2016

Isabella's Jarred Campbell (No. 9) slips through the arms of Verbena's Anthony Miller (No. 33) during Friday night's game.

Isabella’s Jarred Campbell (No. 9) slips through the arms of Verbena’s Anthony Miller (No. 33) during Friday night’s game. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Special)

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

A standing room only crowd witnessed a game for the ages on Friday night as two teams battled for an entire four quarters of football in a contest that would not be decided until the final seconds when a recovered onside kick would seal a Isabella 49-42 victory over the Verbena Red Devils.

It was a tail of two halves for the Mustangs as the Red Devils would be the hotter team to start the game and would be the first to get on the board via Tristan Short to Anthony Miller twenty-five yard touchdown reception.

The Red Devil lead would be very short lived however as Hunter Langston would field the ensuing kickoff at his own twenty three and would return it all the way for a touchdown to knot the score at seven each.

The Verbena offense would answer right back with another scoring drive that would end on a two-yard touchdown carry by Hakeem Underwood that would make the score 14-7at the end of the first quarter.

Turnovers would be a major factor for the Mustangs in the first half as the Isabella ensuing drive would end with a fumble that would result in seven more points for Verbena thanks to a sixty-two yard touchdown pass from Short to Miller to give Verbena a 20-7 lead.

Two possessions later and a two yard carry by Jaqarise Stacy would pull the Mustangs to within seven, 20-14 but with just under a minute to play in the first half Short would again make the Verbena lead fourteen with a two yard touchdown carry that would send the game to the halftime break with Verbena leading 26-14.

The Mustangs would come out blazing to start the second half as Jarred Campbell would take the handoff from Stacy and go sixty-seven yards to a Isabella Touchdown.

A three and out possession by Verbena and the Mustang offense was back in business from their own forty-five. Three first downs later and Austin Brasher would cap off the drive with a four yard touchdown carry to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game, 28-26.

The Red Devils looked poised to retake the lead with their next possession, but a twenty-one yard field goal would come up short while turning the ball over to Isabella.

The turnover bug would again bite the Mustangs on the next play as another Isabella fumble would give Verbena the ball back and on a third and fifteen from the Isabella thirty one, Short would connect with Miller once again to put Verbena back on 34-28.

The lead would not last long as lighting would strike twice for the Mustangs as Stacy would field the ensuing kickoff at his own thirty and would take it to the house on a seventy-yard kickoff return to tie the game at third-four with 6:44 to play in the game.

A three and out by the Red Devils would give the Mustangs the ball with 5:47 to play and a sixty-eight yard drive would end on a thirteen yard touchdown carry by Campbell to put Isabella back in front, 41-34.

Another three and out by Verbena would allow Isabella to tack on another touchdown as Campbell would go in again, this time from seventy-six yards out to give the Mustangs a 49-34 lead with just over two minutes to play.

There was no quiet in the Red Devils however, and with just ten seconds to play, Short would find Juwan Tyus in the end zone and with a two point conversion, Verbena trailed by seven and would line up for an onside kick attempt.

The Verbena onside kick would fall into the hands of a Mustang receiver and would bring the game to an end.

“Verbena is a great football team, we knew that, they have some really big play makers that can bust big plays at anytime,” said Mustangs Head Coach Tate Leonard, “We hurt ourselves in the first half with four or five fumbles, but what I am happy about is the old Isabella would have laid their heads down and quit. We challenged them at the half and the fought back. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Campbell lead the Isabella ground attack with 258 yards on 11 carries with three touchdowns.

Short threw 13 times for 330 yards and four touchdowns with Miller hauling in three of those touchdowns on six receptions and 193 yards.