The Golden Bears had 298 rushing yards Friday night, and 225 passing yards for 523 total offense, but it wasn’t enough to gain the win. Senior Colt Carver led the way with six receptions for 128 yards, and nine carries for 85 yards, scoring a touchdown through the air and two more on the ground, while Brandon Garza carried the ball for 107 yards on 13 carries in the losing effort.
“Tonight was like most of our games with Mt. Juliet, it came down to just a couple of plays because I think both teams are pretty equal,” said Beech Coach Anthony Crabtree.
“When you take on Mt. Juliet you know that your team is going to be in for a battle because they have so much talent, and they’re well coached, and tonight was just another example of that.”
Mt. Juliet (4-2 9AAA) took the opening kickoff and ran an unbalanced line for most of the drive, taking almost five minutes off the clock, and ended with Garza running the sweep to the left side for the final nine yards for the score to make it 7-0.
Both teams traded punts, but then on Beech’s second series, Travis Haymer ran for a 52 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7 with 3:37 to play in the opening quarter.
The Golden Bears took the lead back with 5:30 left in the second quarter, going 65 yards on 10 plays, capped by Caleb Chowbay’s 15 yard pass to Vaughn Cornelia in the left corner of the endzone to put Mt. Juliet up 14-7.
Ryan Jenkins added the final points of the half with just 11 seconds left to play, hitting a 20 yard field goal to make it 17-7 at the half.
Beech (8-2, 5-1) came out of the halftime break and Haymer took it the final five yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 17-14.
Mt. Juliet needed less than a minute to answer as Carver took the first handoff for a 50 yard gain, and then two plays later Contrez McCathern took it the final 18 yards for the touchdown to make it 24-14.
The Buccaneers came right back as Haymer, who ran for over 340 yards and a school record Friday night, opened with a 60 yard gain, and then three plays later Lincoln Kenitzer hit Max Zinchini for a seven yard reception to again cut the lead to 24-21 with 5:14 left in the third quarter.
Beech took its first lead of the night on its next series when Kenitzer dove over the pack for a one yard touchdown to give the Buccaneers the 27-24 lead.
After a Mt. Juliet interception, Beech again needed only two plays to put more points on the board when Haymer broke free for a 74 yard touchdown to put the Buccaneers up 34-24.
The Golden Bears refused to go away however, and Chowbay hit Carver for what looked to be a 20 yard gain, but Carver rolled over two Beech tacklers and never went to the ground. Once he regained his footing, Carver took it the final 47 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 34-31 with 6:49 left in regulation.
Needing a field goal to tie the score, and time winding down, Jenkins hit his second field goal of the night, a 25 yard attempt, to tie the score 34-34 with no time left on the clock.
Beech went first in the first overtime and Zinchini took it in from three yards out for the touchdown to make it 41-34. Mt. Juliet answered on just three plays, the last a six yard run for Carver to tie the score 41-41.
The Golden Bears took it first on the next overtime session, but had to settle for a 29 yard field goal by Jenkins to make it 44-41, but Haymer proved to be just too much, scoring from seven yards out on the second play of the series to secure the win and the District 9-AAA title.
“This was a game we really wanted, but we knew it was going to be a dogfight the whole night,” said Haymer.
Perry said he felt like the opening drive of the second half for Beech was a big turning point in the game. “We talked about coming out strong in the second half because that was a turning point in the game,” said Perry. “If we could’ve held them there and then took it down and scored I think this game would’ve had a totally different outcome than the one we’re left with. We had our chances, so you have to hand it to Beech because they did what they needed to do in order to get the victory tonight.”