As Lenard Tillery went Friday night, so did McKinley High.
So, slowing Tillery after halftime allowed Scotlandville to erase a 14-point deficit and a stop of Tillery short of the end zone on a two-point conversion late in the game helped the Hornets edge McKinley 27-26 in a thriller at Memorial Stadium.
"I tell you what, the crowd got their money's worth tonight," Scotlandville coach Ken Hilton said.
Hilton's team had to overcome a 181-yard performance from Tillery, along with a 14-point halftime deficit, for the win.
But the game hinged on McKinley coach Robert Signater's decision to go for two while trailing by just one point.
"I regret it now," Signater said. "Our kicker is wishy-washy, so I wanted to go for two. It was my decision."
That came after the Panthers notched their first points of the second half with just 2:28 left in the game.
"I don't blame him," Hilton said. "I probably would have done the same thing."
After being down 20-6 at halftime, the Hornets roared back with 21 unanswered points.
Dontraill Hilliard punched in a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:23 left in the third quarter to close the gap to 20-14 after Kimani Smith passed to Kajandre Domino for a successful two-point conversion.
The score came thanks to a 30-yard punt return by Cevon Cage to the Panthers' 5-yard line to set Scotlandville up with first-and-goal.
Just after the start of the fourth quarter, Smith found Larry Clark for a 41-yard touchdown, and Domino's extra point gave the Hornets their first lead, at 21-20.
Scotlandville kept riding the momentum on the next possession, when defensive lineman Leon Alexander stepped in front of a Jarred Hayes pass at the McKinley 10-yard line.
The interception set up a 10-yard touchdown scamper from Smith to make the lead 27-20.
"It was a tough one to give away," Signater said. "We were good except the one big pass. They scored on two special teams plays and the one big pass. Otherwise, we held up."
The Panthers cruised through most of the first half behind Tillery, who ran for 126 yard before the break.
Tillery struck first on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 6:54 left in the first quarter. Tillery racked up 45 yards on the drive.
Five minutes later, it was Marvin Batiste who scored from 5 yards out, giving McKinley a 14-0 lead with 4:08 left in the first quarter.
Scotlandville's first score came in bizarre fashion. After McKinley had forced a punt, Scotlandville punter Kevin Green booted a 52-yarder, where McKinley receiver Cody Swain picked the up the rolling ball. DaMichael Robinson then stripped Swain, sprinting 25 yards for a score, narrowing the lead to 14-6.
Eight minutes later, McKinley answered, with quarterback Jarred Hayes finding Allswell Opunsunju from 5 yards out for a 20-6 halftime lead.