Call it good foresight or good fortune, or a little bit of both.
Green Sea Floyds coach Donnie Kiefer introduced a hook and lateral play to the offense this week, and the Trojans executed it to perfection with 2:25 to play Friday to pull out a 20-18 win over Scott’s Branch in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs.
On a third-and-3, Bubba Elliott threw a short pass to A.J. Campbell, who pitched it back to a streaking Jaquan Dixon as he was being tackled and Dixon took it down the left sideline to complete a 62-yard touchdown.
“We just put it in this week. I’ve used it through the years probably over a 20-year period,” said Kiefer, the Trojans’ first-year head coach. “I just thought this might be a good week we might need it. So it came in handy right when we needed it, so praise God for that. … I feel like maybe the Lord put that in my heart to put that in this week. So I listened.”
Campbell and Dixon teamed up again on the play that sealed the win, as Campbell deflected a pass and Dixon caught it to end the Eagles’ final drive near midfield with just over 2 minutes remaining.
The game was GSF’s first playoff game at home since 2003 and it travels to Baptist Hill in the second round.
Scott’s Branch (5-6) took a 12-0 lead on a 24-yard TD catch by Keondre Tappin in the first quarter and 18-yard Tyrease Riley TD run late in the second quarter.
GSF (6-5) had done little offensively to that point. But a short kickoff was caught by Eric Small at the Trojans’ 47, and he made one cut to the outside and raced 57 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown to pull GSF within six points with 36 seconds left in the first half.
The Trojans carried the momentum over to the second half, driving 60 yards for a score on their opening possession to take a 13-12 lead. The drive included a 38-yard Bubba Elliott pass to sophomore Campbell, who beat man-to-man coverage, and 8-yard scoring run by James Boudreau around the right end.
“I think our guys were kind of getting down a little bit because they went up two scores,” Kiefer said. “I don’t have any idea why they pooch-kicked it, but they kicked it to a pretty good player in Eric Small and he took it to the house. That was huge because then we came back out in the second half with confidence.”
A Riley 47-yard touchdown run that included a pair of broken tackles near the line of scrimmage regained the lead for Scott’s Branch in the fourth quarter before GSF’s new play.
Scott’s Branch was threatening to run out the clock with an 18-13 lead after quarterback Amonte Brown converted a fourth-and-2 with 4:30 left at the Trojans’ 46 with a 19-yard tackle-breaking run behind his left guard.
But GSF did not allow another first down as Brown was sacked on a fourth-and-8 at the 25 after the Trojans had used all three of their timeouts in succession.
“I told the kids every time I went out there on those timeouts, ‘Guys, if you can hold them and get the ball back we can score, if you hold them and get the ball back we’re going to go down and score,’ and sure enough it played out,” Kiefer said.
GSF RB/LB James Boudreau: The junior did it on both sides of the ball with an 8-yard rushing touchdown and interception after GSF took its first lead in the second half.
GSF QB Bubba Elliott: Completed 4 of 9 passes for 58 yards and did not turn the ball over.
GSF RB/LB Jaquan Dixon: The freshman scored the game-winning touchdown and intercepted the final offensive play by Scott’s Branch.
By the numbers
Home playoff game for Green Sea Floyds since 2003, including Friday night.
Extra points on two attempts by GSF freshman kicker Freddy Serrato, and the points proved to be the difference in the game. The teams combined to go 0-for-4 on two-point conversions.
Passing yards Bubba Elliott is awarded on the game-winning 62-yard hook and lateral play.
They said it
“I’m really proud of our kids with our resolve, the way they played hard, they never gave up and kept fighting, and good things happened.” - GSF coach Donnie Kiefer
“A lot of people doubted us and we came through, proved people wrong. That’s what we do. Baptist Hill, we’ve got to come back stronger, come back smarter and play our game.” - GSF freshman Jaquan Dixon
Scott’s Branch: Season is over
Green Sea Floyds: at Baptist Hill next Friday
SB - Amonte Brown 24-yard pass to Keondre Tappin (rush failed)
SB – Tyrease Riley 18 run (rush failed)
GSF – Eric Small 57 kickoff return (rush failed)
GSF – James Boudreau 8 run (Freddy Serrato kick)
SB – Riley 47 run (pass failed)
GSF – Jaquan Dixon 57 run (Serrato kick)
Rushing: GSF: Dixon 10-85, Anwain Graham 9-45.
Passing: GSF: Bubba Elliott 4-9-0–58.
Receiving: GSF: A.J. Campbell 2-43.