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Loyd Star conquers Wesson in OT

WESSON – Producing their original version of Thursday NightLights, the Loyd Star Hornets and Wesson Cobras clashed in an epicstruggle of unbeaten teams in Stone Stadium. An overflow crowd,estimated at 3500, watched the Hornets prevail 27-21 in overtime asquarterback Joseph Shelby plunged across the goal line on fourthdown to keep his team unbeaten in seven games.

Loyd Star (7-0, 2-0), won the Division 6-2A game over itsarchrival, ending 5 years of Wesson domination. Wesson (6-1, 1-1)went on defense first in overtime and almost kept Shelby out of theend zone.

“We had to keep fighting,” said Shelby. “Wesson is a talentedteam. They never got out of position.”

After Loyd Star went ahead, the Cobras had 4 tries from the10-yard line in overtime. A holding penalty on second down pushedthem back to the 16-yard line. Three passes fell incomplete. Thefinal throw from quarterback Matt Smith was intended for D.J.Coleman who was knocked down diving for the ball.

Wesson head coach Tommy Clopton rushed onto the field shouting,”Interference! It was pass interference!” as he approached theofficials. They ignored his protest and Loyd Star continued itsvictory celebration.

“We will watch the film and see what happened,” said Clopton.”Both teams played extremely hard. Loyd Star just made one moreplay than we did.”

Loyd Star nearly doubled Wesson’s total offense production butthe Cobras used big plays to stay in contention. Brandon Allenreturned the game-opening kickoff 83 yards to the Hornets’ 7-yardline before being brought down. Four plays later, Jeromy Smithplunged the final yard up the middle. Austin Graham kicked theextra point for a 7-0 lead.

Loyd Star responded in the second quarter with an 84-yardscoring drive that required 4 plays. Junior running back MarquisHayes broke off right tackle and raced 54 yards to the end zone.Chris Buie’s PAT kick tied the game at 7-7 with 10:03 left in thefirst half.

Wesson produced a goal-line stand at its 8-yard line and tookover with 4:37 left in the first half. On the seventh play, MattSmith hooked up with Coleman who made a leaping catch between 2Hornet defenders and pranced into the end zone.

Wesson led 13-7 with 57 seconds left in the first half.

“Wesson never really stopped us but we screwed up on every drivewe had because of mistakes,” said Loyd Star coach Ryan Ross. “Wefinally got a break with a turnover.”

Matt Smith suffered a sprained ankle midway through the thirdquarter. A Wesson fumble 4 plays later resulted in Loyd Star’sAnthony Thompson scooping up the football and returning it toWesson’s 14.

Two plays later, Tradareous Wilson broke into the end zone,scoring over left tackle. Buie’s PAT kick gave the Hornets a 14-13lead.

Hayes would provide a game-breaking play with a 51-yard puntreturn, pushing Loyd Star ahead 21-13 with 5:39 left to play. Hayesfinished with 158 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Asked about the punt return, Hayes said, “Me and my blocker, Joe(Shelby) were watching the ball roll. I looked at him and picked itup. It got a good block from Marquis Sims.”

With Matt Smith limping on a heavily wrapped ankle, he guidedthe Cobras to a tying touchdown in the closing minutes ofregulation. His 20-yard pass to Coleman gave Wesson a first down atthe Hornets’ 23. Five plays later, Jeromy Smith went the final yardup the middle. On the 2-point conversion try, a 2-yard offsidespenalty paved the way for Jeromy Smith’s plunge, gaining a deadlockwith 1:16 remaining.

“Our quarterback was hobbled but he gave a heroic effort,”Clopton noted. “Matt played very hard and gave us a chance towin.”

Linebacker David Fields was among the Loyd Star seniors savoringtheir first win over Wesson. “It feels great. I don’t think I’veever played as hard in my life. We had subs come in and help uswin. Wesson is the best team we’ve played this year.”

Fields led the Hornet defense with 14 tackles. T. J. Floyd andAnthony Thompson followed with 10 tackles apiece. Thompson alsorecovered a fumble.

Next up for the Hornets is an Oct. 16 home date with regionpower Puckett. Wesson is at Enterprise next Friday.