DENHAM SPRINGS - Central coach Doug Dotson could not have picked a more pressure-packed time to attempt his team’s first field goal of the season.
But sophomore place-kicker Jonathon Thibodeaux came through with a 23-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Wildcats by Denham Springs 31-28 in District 4-5A on Friday night.
“That was a real pressure cooker for Jonathon right there,” Dotson said. “But it was a call we had to make. I give him a lot of credit for coming through for us.”
Central (4-4, 2-1 in 4-5A) came in off a 54-15 win over Walker the previous week and sprinted to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
The host Yellow Jackets rallied to take a 21-14 lead through three quarters, but Central answered with two more touchdowns in the fourth period to reclaim the lead.
Denham sophomore running back Anthony Bracy notched his second TD on a 4-yard run to knot the score at 28-28 with four minutes to play.
Central marched to Denham’s 30-yard line on its final possession in regulation and Dotson considered calling on Thibodeaux to attempt a long field goal for the win. But the Wildcats instead jammed the Yellow Jackets close to their own goal line with a short punt.
After Thibodeaux booted the field goal in the first possession in overtime, the Yellow Jackets took over on offense.
The Yellow Jackets (5-3, 2-1) were thwarted by an illegal shift infraction and later faced a fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Coach Dru Nettles opted to run the ball for the win but Bracy was wrapped up by Central defender Logan Metcalfe.
The senior safety came crashing through the line from the left side to hogtie Bracy and seal the victory.
Dotson said that this week Metcalfe had been moved from free safety to strong safety to make such plays behind the line of scrimmage.
“I was a little surprised they didn’t kick (to force a second overtime),” Dotson said. “They have a good field-goal kicker. That took a lot of guts on their part to go for the win. I admire them for that.”
Nettles said he didn’t hesitate to call the running play.
“We just tried to run a play, and they stopped us,” he said. “It came down to the end, and we had a chance to win the game. I’d do it again, because I trust my guys.
Bracy, filling in for injured starter Kaleb Blanchard, led all rushers with 104 yards and two touchdowns on 22 attempts.
Yellow Jackets quarterback Kyle Cedotal threw for 221 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Gary Triplet’s 30-yard touchdown run on Central’s second possession of the game and his 83-yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
Bracy’s 4-yard TD run capped a 69-yard, 11-play drive to get DSHS within 14-6 with two minutes left in the first quarter. And after Cedotal got the Yellow Jackets within 14-13 with a touchdown pass to Dron Singleton early in the second period, Denham Springs took its first lead, at 21-14 late in
the third quarter as Sterling Suggs caught a 14-yard touchdown from Cedotal and a two-point conversion pass from backup quarterback Brian Garrett.
But Central came back with two quick touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Zach Evans scored on a 2-yard run with eight minutes to play, and after Central’s Jesus Acosta recovered a squib kick, that play set up a 23-yard touchdown completion from Brett Courville to Devon Gales to put Central ahead 28-21 with seven minutes to play.