In a slugfest between two physical teams, Addison overcame a 14-0 first-half deficit to win with a walk-off two-point conversion, 30-28. With both teams making big plays, the Bulldogs ultimately were able to make one more as they improved to 5-1 on the season.
Despite the Raiders’ Kaleb Jones rushing for over 60 yards in the first quarter, Good Hope ultimately fell short of putting points on the board until midway through the second quarter when Jones took it in from 14 yards out to them up 7-0.
A three-and-out forced Addison to punt, and a Tucker Malin punt return of almost 30 yards set the Raiders up in Bulldog territory. Facing 4th and 10 from the 20-yard line Colton Whatley through a perfect deep ball to Tyler Cone, who leaped up and came down with it for the touchdown. With Good Hope up 14-0 with about a minute to go in the half Houston Walton came up with a clutch sack to end the half.
With all the momentum in Good Hope’s favor, Addison came on in the set half a different football team. Addison head coach David Smothers had this message for his team, “We played overall awful throughout the first half, but there was an opportunity to redeem it. Most teams will think it’s over, but at Addison it’s not over as long as there is time on the clock so let’s go play a good half of football.”
And that good half of football is exactly what they did. With Good Hope receiving the opening kickoff to start the half, Addison went straight to work and forced a three and out. After only a 16 yard punt, they went straight down the field in 9 plays as quarterback Briley Hayes took it in from a yard out to bring the score to 14-6 after Cone picked the two-piont conversion attempt, his second pick of the game.
After trading punts Addison found itself in a crucial moment in the game. Facing 4th and 9 around midfield, and less than 6 minutes left in the game, they elected to trust their defense, who had been dominate the entire second half. Coach Smothers added on the decision to punt in that situation, “Our defense had been playing really well all night, and we felt they would get us the ball back.”
And that dominance continued as they forced another three and out, giving them the ball with a chance to tie the game at 14 apiece.
With great field position in Good Hope territory Addison use a balanced attack to set up a 1 yard touchdown run by . A “pop pass” to Jed Wilkins tied it at 14-14 all with a few minutes to go.
Good Hope’s next possesion moved the ball into Addison territory, but facing 4th and 9 around midfield they punted and pinned the Bulldogs at the 11 yard line. Four plays later Hayden Holland made an acrobatic catch along the sideline before taking it 74 yards to put Addison on top 22-14, after another successful 2 point conversion.
With just over a minute left in the game Good Hope used several key passes, most notably a brilliant halfback screen to Kaleb Jones to set up one final play in regulation. Whatley was able to not only find K’mal Bell for a 3 yard touchdown, but then again on the 2 point conversion to tie it at 22-22 to force overtime.
Good Hope started with the ball and scored on a 4th and goal from the 6 yard line on an incredible catch by Cone. The extra point was missed, bringing the score to 28-22 as Addison tookover at the 10 yard line. Three plays later Hayes threw another touchdown to tie it at 28-28.
The Bulldogs, who hadn’t kicked an extra point the entire game, lined up for the game winning kick. With Hayes holding he took the snap and took off, meeting a gang of Raiders at the 2 yard line. With the game looking to be headed to a second overtime, Hayes drove his feet and the Raider defenders back until he crossed the goalline with the walkoff 30-28 win in the instant classic.
Coach Smothers had this to finish up his thoughts on the big comeback win for his squad, “They just never gave up. That’s who this team is. It’s always good to take a win into the next week, and we have a really good ball team waiting on us.”
That reference is to next’s week game of the week, where Addison will travel to play undefeated rival, the Meek Tigers (5-0), a game that will likely determine the region champion in 1A Region 8.
Good Hope drops to 2-4 on the season, but will return home to take on another Bulldog, county foe Hanceville Bulldogs (2-3). With playoff implications on the line, that matchup will serve key for both programs in 4A Region 6.