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Fourth-quarter Saints rally sinks Tigers

A pass intended for Greenville receiver Jonathan Powell is nearly intercepted by St. Paul’s cornerback Tamaurice Smith. The Saints made a fourth-quarter comeback in the final minutes to edge out the Tigers 24-23.

A pass intended for Greenville receiver Jonathan Powell is nearly intercepted by St. Paul’s cornerback Tamaurice Smith. The Saints made a fourth-quarter comeback in the final minutes to edge out the Tigers 24-23.

Friday the 13th lived up to its reputation as a series of unfortunate events allowed the St. Paul’s Saints to regain control of the ball game late in the fourth with two quick scores, upending a long-held Greenville lead and winning 24-23.

Though the Tigers dictated the pace and controlled the lead for the majority of the game, it was the Saints who struck first with a 37-yard field goal attempt, and again as running back BJ Edwards received a speed sweep and streaked down the sideline to extend the Saints’ lead to 9-0.

But the Tigers soon answered back as a lengthy Ken McCoy run set up a nine-yard lunging dive from Marlon Davidson as the Tigers cut into the lead 9-7.

An ill-advised fake punt attempt from St. Paul’s was snuffed out just shy of the first-down marker, setting up the Tigers for a short field on the Saints’ own 35 yard line.

Running back Dequarius Peterson steamrolled his way to a goal line situation for the Tigers, where Ja’Quan Lewis effortlessly jogged it in and gave the Tigers a 14-9 lead with minutes remaining in the half.

An added field goal from Antonio Alvarez gave the Tigers breathing room later in the third and extended the lead to 17-9.

The fourth quarter proved the origin of the Tigers’ problems as a Saints hail mary bobbled out of the hands of a pair of Greenville defenders and into the hands of Jarrett Eaton for a St. Paul’s touchdown.  A successful two-point conversion made tied the game with 5:47 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers’ offense was ground to a halt on the ensuing drive, forcing a quick three-and-out and a punt deep within their own territory.  A pair of Saints made it through the ranks on the following punt, however, setting St. Paul’s up with ideal field position on the Tigers’ 14-yard line.

Speedy Saints’ running back Ostin Mcpherson beat his opposition outside on a 14-yard touchdown rush, giving St. Paul’s a 24-17 lead with 4:17 remaining.

A shell-shocked Greenville offense soon recovered as Brandon Simmons delivered a laser to Jonathan Powell in the flats, setting the receiver up for an 84-yard dash down the sideline.

A Saints offsides on the extra point attempt meant a tough decision had to be made just shy of one yard outside of the end zone.

The play called for a direct snap to Davidson, but he never found his way into the end zone as he was immediately swarmed by Saints.

Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that a miscommunication was unfortunate, but it doesn’t nullify the great accomplishments of his players this season.

“The play is designed to be run inside, and we stepped outside,” McLendon said.

“It’s not where it was supposed to be, but hey.  We had a great season.  These guys played their hearts out all year long, and I can’t be more proud of them.

“We just come up a little bit short sometimes in life, but that’s OK.  The sun’s going to come up tomorrow.  This one will sting a little for a while—we had a good football team.  We had a chance to make a little run here.”

Still reeling from the loss, McLendon said that a great group of seniors made the 2015 season a memorable one for him and the entire Greenville community.

“They mean everything to this team this year,” McLendon said.

“They put in the work.  They put in the effort. It’s hard for me to process everything right now…. but those guys are a special group.”