Late heroics by Williams lift Co-Lin over Southwest
WESSON – Billy Williams set a personal record for late-gameheroics Thursday night in Stone Stadium. Williams, serving asholder, scooped up the low snap from center on a field goalattempt, scampered around left end and scored as time expired,lifting the Co-Lin Wolves to a thrilling 16-10 victory overarchrival Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Victory, snapped from the jaws of defeat, never was sweeter forthe Wolves who had absorbed two straight lopsided setbacks beforebeating Southwest last night. Co-Lin had marched 73 yards to afirst down at Southwest’s 9-yard line as quarterback Bruce Pettycompleted 4 passes along the way, the last reception going to FredPerkins for a first-and-goal at the 9 and just 8 seconds left onthe clock.
As Co-Lin placekicker Jimbo Thornton lined up for the 27-yardfield goal, Southwest head coach Dom Green called 2 straighttimeouts in an effort to ice the kicker.
Williams, realizing that the snap from long snapper Chase Mageewas low, making it too late to launch a field goal attempt, alertlyran to his left. He faced a wall of white-jerseyed Southwestplayers but somehow managed to turn the corner and escape theirgrasp.
“The ball hit the ground,” recalled Williams, a freshman widereceiver from Brookhaven. “I had no choice but to pick it up andrun. I didn’t think I was going to make it until that dude fromSouthwest fell.”
Co-Lin’s players swarmed the field to celebrate and there was noneed for an extra point attempt. The Wolves improved to 3-5 overalland 2-3 in the South Division. Southwest, losing its secondstraight close game, remained winless (0-5) in the South and fellto 2-6 overall.
“The bad-snap drill is something we have practiced for twoyears,” said Co-Lin head coach David Poinsett. “Billy did a superjob reacting. I’ve never seem him run that fast.”
Crippled by a rash of injuries, the Wolves still found a way towin. Poinsett said the Co-Lin roster was down to 37 healthyplayers, 18 short of the standard 55-member squad.
“Our guys decided to win this game,” said Poinsett. “We hadpeople playing out of position,” because of injuries.
“I’m especially happy for our sophomores,” Poinsett added. “Theycan walk off this field for the last time with a win.”
Freshman center Ernie Johnston echoed Poinsett’s statement. “I’mproud we won the last home game for our sophomores. This is a bigrivalry game and I’m proud to win it.”
Southwest had taken an early 3-0 lead on a booming 45-yard fieldgoal by Tim Wright, a freshman from Pass Christian. Wright wouldlater launch a 72-yard punt in the first quarter.
Co-Lin claimed a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. Linebacker DonExpose intercepted Southwest quarterback Brandon Wagner at theBears’ 32-yard line. After 2 penalties, totaling 15 yards againstCo-Lin, freshman quarterback Ty Smith hooked up with JohnathanWalker on a 46-yard completion to the Southwest 1.
Freshman fullback Bobby Smith scored on the next play, Thorntonkicked the PAT and Co-Lin led 7-3 with 11:18 left in the firsthalf.
In the third quarter, Petty directed a drive to the Southwest9-yard line. A short completion from Petty to Williams was expandedto a 39-yard gainer on some shifty running. The Wolves settled fora 27-yard field goal by Thornton and a 10-3 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Southwest authored a 79-yard scoringdrive as Wagner completed passes of 28 and 8 yards to JeremyFreeman and a 27-yard TD pass to Reggie Lindsey. Wright’s PATgained a 10-10 deadlock with 8 minutes left in the game.
“This is our second straight tough loss,” said Coach Green. “Wetried to freeze the kicker but Co-Lin did a heads-up play for atouchdown. Football is a game of inches and right now we are notgetting the inches.”
On the game-winning drive, which began at Co-Lin’s 18-yard linewith 3:22 left to play, Petty was a perfect 4-for-4 in passcompletions, connecting with Johnathan Walker for 21 yards, Perkinsfor 29 yards, Johnathan McLaurin for 9 yards and Perkins for13.
For the game, Petty completed 16 of 27 passes for 259 yards, 1touchdown and 1 interception. Walker had 3 catches for 80 yards.Perkins caught 3 passes for 69 yards and Marcus Shannon had 4catches for 54 yards.
Shermaine Vaughn led Co-Lin’s rush with 19 carries for 56 yards.Teammate Bobby Smith carried 5 times for 51 yards.
“We played hard as a team,” said Co-Lin freshman defensivelineman Dusty Shack. “Southwest gave us a good game but we came outon top.”
On defense, Howard Overby intercepted Wagner in the end zone tokill a third-quarter, touchdown drive.