It was only fitting that Darian Stevenson was in on the game-sealing sack for Great Falls.
He and a host of Red Devils dropped C.A. Johnson quarterback Charles Mallory on fourth down in overtime to give the Red Devils a 32-24 win that keeps them undefeated at 6-0 on the season.
“He’s got one motor, and when he turns it on it goes,” said Schofield. “And when it runs out, he’s got to come out. But he’s got a big heart and motor, we’re really fortunate to have him on our squad.”
Stevenson, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore defensive end, had four sacks and the blocked punt that sent Friday night’s game into overtime. Another sophomore, kicker John Hall, made the 36-yard field goal. On a slippery field with a wet ball, it was as true as could be.
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Great Falls (6-0, 1-0 in Region 3-A) got the ball first in overtime and on the first play, Shy Kelly ran in from 10 yards out, and quarterback Chris Culp converted the two-point try. C.A. Johnson (2-5, 0-1) went backwards on its four plays, the sack of Mallory ending the ballgame, and a dominant performance by Stevenson.
Mallory began the second half scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run to give C.A. Johnson the lead 18-13. Great Falls answered back with a touchdown of its own from Lamarion Craine to retake the lead. A two-point conversion resulted in a 21-18 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
After a 59-yard catch and run by Mike Davis, Mallory scored from a yard out to give C.A Johnson the lead. A failed two-point conversion left the score at 24-21 in the visitor’s favor.
With C.A. Johnson punting late in the fourth quarter, Stevenson blocked the kick, practically hugging the punter, and Great Falls recovered at the Johnson 13-yard line. The Great Falls drive stalled, but Hall banged in a 36-yard kick to send the game to overtime.
“Tremendous field goal,” said Schofield. “He’s got a great leg. He is a golden-foot boy, and he’s just a sophomore. He boomed that ball. Real proud of him.”
C.A. Johnson left a good impression on Pride Valley. The Hornets’ defense made 12 tackles-for-loss during the game, constantly harassing Great Falls QB Culp.
“They were all over us,” said Schofield. “They came out and did some things different than what we had seen on the tape.”
Great Falls entered the night as one of 1A’s last seven unbeaten teams, but the Red Devils struggled offensively in the first half, despite taking the initial lead.
After Zy White’s fumble recovery, Great Falls continued its trend of converting turnovers into touchdowns as Culp hit Pierce Funderburk with a 22-yard strike in the first quarter to take the early lead 6-0. The crummy weather didn’t allow for too many scoring opportunities the rest of the quarter.
In the second quarter, Charles Mallory decided to take matters into his own hands on an 80-yard touchdown run on third down. He broke through several arm tackles at the line of scrimmage and showed a burst of speed to outrun the defense to the end zone. Mallory also scored on an 11-yard run to finish off a 12-play scoring drive.
Mallory had 173 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 189 for the game.
Great Falls connected on some big plays to score with under a minute left in the first half. Culp hit Shy Kelly for 40 yards on the drive and Craine had a 1-yard run to end the drive. An extra point conversion by Hall gave Great Falls the 13-12 lead heading into halftime.
Bret McCormick contributed reporting