After scoring a touchdown against Tucker that brought them to within a point in overtime, the Kell Longhorns may have overthought how to address the point after. They lined up, called time out — Tucker countered with a timeout of its own — and ultimately missed an extra point that led to Tucker’s 28-27 win on Saturday in the Corky Kell Classic at Georgia State Stadium.
Tucker’s Tigers were prepared for a Kell 2-point attempt, which the Longhorns had already successfully converted in the first quarter.
“We were just trying to match wits,” Tigers coach Bryan Lamar said. “They lined up in one formation, then called timeout. Gave us another formation, alright, we called timeout. Then they give us another formation. We went back and forth. They changed, we changed and fortunately, they made a mistake in the kicking game.”
The missed extra point capped what was yet another exciting matchup between the two schools. They met for the first time in last year’s Classic, with Kell winning 20-13. But this year belonged to the Tigers (1-0), who begin the season as AAAAAA’s top-ranked team after finishing last season with a 13-2 record and a state runner-up finish.
The Tigers were led offensively by senior receiver Joshua Vann, who had 157 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
“This win was good for us and the whole community,” said the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Vann, who is committed to South Carolina. “We needed it to give us momentum heading into the season.”
The Longhorns (0-1) — ranked No. 6 in AAAAA — jumped to an 8-0 lead with 10:04 remaining in the second quarter and never trailed in regulation. They scored the game’s first points on a 26-yard pass from Evan Conley to Michael Luckie, then Conley ran it in for two points.
Tucker answered with 6:14 remaining in the half on Vann’s first touchdown, an 18-yard, one-handed reception from Travon Ford, bringing the game to an 8-7 score that would hold through halftime.
The Longhorns extended their lead to 14-7 in the third quarter on a pair of 30-yard field goals to set up an exciting fourth quarter. Tucker’s Gerry Vaughn tied the game on a 3-yard run with 10:21 remaining.
With 5:01 remaining in regulation, Kell sophomore defensive lineman Vincent Dinkins scooped up a botched Tigers pitch in the backfield and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown, giving Kell a 21-14 lead. But Tucker responded on its next drive when, on second-and-5, Ford dropped back on a play action pass and heaved the ball down the middle of the field to a wide-open Vann for a 79-yard touchdown pass with 3:58 remaining.
In overtime, Vann caught his third touchdown, a 15-yard reception on the Tigers’ opening drive. Kell answered with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Conley to Blake Simpson, but the Longhorns couldn’t convert the point-after kick, which would have sent the game to a second overtime.
Ford finished with 204 passing yards on 11-of-18 passing for the Tigers, while Vaughn rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries.
For Kell, Conley was 13-of 21 passing for 110 yards and his leading receiver, Luckie, had five catches for 89 yards. Josh Futral had 69 yards on 12 carries. On defense for the Longhorns, Justin Talley led all players with 7 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Tucker 0 7 0 14 7 – 28
Kell 0 8 6 7 6 – 27
K – Michael Luckie 26 pass from Evan Conley (Conley run)
T – Joshua Vann 18 pass from Travon Ford (Stephenson kick)
K – Logan Flesher 30 FG
K – Logan Flesher 30 FG
T – Gerry Vaughn 3 run (Flesher kick)
K – Vincent Dinkins 31 fumble recovery (Flesher kick)
T – Vann 79 pass from Ford (Stephenson kick)
T – Vann 15 pass from Ford (Stephenson kick)
K – Blake Simpson 5 pass from Conley (kick failed)