It was wild last Friday night in Indianola as the Kirk Academy Raiders visited the Indianola Academy Colonels for a hard-hitting showdown.
After trailing the home team 14-7 at halftime, Kirk outscored Indianola 28-21 in the second half, forcing overtime tied at 35. The Raiders (4-3, 2-1) scored on its first play from scrimmage in OT when senior tailback A.J. Wren danced his way 10 yards for the score. The Colonels answered right back with a Leland Selby 20-yard run on their first play following a penalty. With a Homecoming victory on the line, IA elected to go for two and converted following a Kirk penalty, bettering sophomore placekicker Gunner Vance’s extra-point, to claim victory 43-42.
The first quarter ended with Indianola leading 7-0 following a late 8-yard scoring run by Conner Roncali. Wade Lang added the PAT.
Kirk responded quickly early in the second quarter when senior quarterback Colbert Hathcock connected with senior receiver Montgomery Ferguson in stride on a 40-yard touchdown, along the home sideline. Vance’s extra point tied the game 7-7. However, the Colonels ended first-half scoring midway through the second quarter when Selby raced into the end zone from 23 yards outs. Lang’s kick gave the home team a 14-7 lead, which remained until halftime.
Selby added an 8-yard touchdown run with 7:28 left in the third quarter to extend IA’s lead 21-7 following Lang’s PAT and quieted the visiting crowd. However, Wren brought Kirk’s fanbase to back to its feet when he scooped up Lang’s kickoff at the 3-yard-line and sped 97 yards on the ensuing kickoff for the touchdown. Vance’s kick was true as the Raiders cut into the Colonels’ lead 21-14.
Kirk Academy reeled off two more unanswered touchdowns with 2:27 left in the third quarter following a successful onside kick and 6:10 left to play in the game on 1 yard runs by Hathcock and Wren, respectively, as the visitors from Grenada took their first lead of the game 28-21 following PATs by Vance.
The game became most interesting with five minutes to play when a series of penalties, defensive stands and questionable calls fired up the crowds.
Selby added a 2-yard run with 2:52 left to play to get Indianola to within one point. An unsportsmanlike penalty by the Colonels in the end zone pushed the extra-point attempt back, which Lang shanked as Kirk held on to a 28-27 lead.
Following a quick series by the Raiders, the Colonels threatened to take the lead following a deep punt, but with 2:22 left in regulation, senior defensive lineman Trey Cashaw plucked IA quarterback Cole Ferrell’s pass out of the air and raced 13 yards for the score. Vance’s kick gave Kirk a 35-27 lead.
However, Indianola wasn’t done yet.
Ferrell connected with Selby on a 28-yard TD, who then added the two-point conversion to tie the game at 35 with 1:08 left to play. Neither team scored in the final minute of play, forcing it into overtime.
The Raiders finished the night with 295 yards of total offense compared to the Colonels’ 476 total yards. Hathcock finished the game 6 for 15 through the air for 125 yards and one touchdown. Ferguson had three catches for 109 yards to lead the receiving corps. Wren was Kirk’s leading rusher with 67 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries followed closely by sophomore tailback Theron Hubbard with 57 yards on eight carries.
Defensively, senior linebacker Mason Byars led the charge for Kirk with 11 tackles and half a sack. He was followed closely by classmate Walker Staten with 9 tackles and Ferguson with 8. Senior defensive lineman Ethan Presley chipped in with 6.5 tackles, a sack and two tackles for losses and Cashaw added five tackles and a sack to go along with his interception.
The Raiders will complete a three-week road game series Friday night at Washington School in Greenville. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.