Conquistadors’ defense strong all night but fail in 8-7 loss to the Evangelical Christian School Eagles | New
Olive Branch offensive coordinator Jay Jones believed the Conquistadors would walk away with the “W” after breaking a scoreless tie late in the fourth quarter against Evangelical Christian School.
But a hiatus in an otherwise stellar night for defense allowed the visiting Eagles to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with one minute remaining and come away with an 8-7 win to spoil Homecoming for Olive Branch.
“I thought we had something there,” Jones told the team during the post-game caucus. “It will hurt. But I was proud of the fighting spirit that I saw. The defense played the night, except for this one. It happens. But the good news is that it does nothing to hurt us after the season. The real thing starts next week.
Head coach Jason Russell left the field immediately after the game was over and was not available for comment.
The loss dropped Olive Branch to 1-2 ahead of next week’s home conference game against DeSoto Central.
The non-conference game was delayed by over an hour due to lightning and was little offended until the last minute of the game. Both teams traded punts and returned the ball on the downs for much of the night, with occasional big plays in the air and on the ground.
Evangelical Christian (4-1) drove to Olive Branch’s 15-yard line on his first practice, but returned the ball on the downs. The Conquistadors managed to reach the Eagle’s 24-yard line on their first possession, but also failed to reach the end zone, knocking the ball over downs.
The Eagles were forced to kick on their next possession, but recovered the ball after Olive Branch quarterback Brayden Wright’s pass was intercepted at their own 34-yard line. With a first and a 10 on the Conquistadors’ 30-yard line, Olive Branch defensive back Darren Wilson intercepted a Bennett Brady pass on his own 14-yard line to end a scoreless first quarter.
The Conquistadors’ next practice ended after running back Corey Williams recovered his own fumble to return the ball down the downs at the Eagle’s 36-yard line. Brady managed to get the Eagles to Olivier’s 47-yard line, but his pass on the third and fourth fell incomplete, forcing them to punt.
Olive Branch found himself facing a first and 10 on his own one-yard line to start. Wright managed to drive the ball to the Conquistadors own 48-yard line with a combination of passes to Keshun Seesom and Darren Wilson, and ground wins by Trayln Oliver, but Olive Branch returned the ball on the lows.
The Eagles were forced to kick after Brady was sacked on the 45-yard line by senior Nick Erves. After starting again from deep on their own 11-yard line, Oliver gave the Conquistadors some much-needed wiggle room with a 25-yard run to get the ball to the 36-yard line, but Olive Branch didn’t. managed to find the end zone to end a scoreless first half.
Olive Branch missed the kickoff to start the third quarter, which was picked up by the Eagles at the Olive Branch 42-yard line. Evangelical Christian, however, was unable to take advantage of the turnover and repelled the ball. For the second time in the game, the Conquistadors found themselves starting from their own one-yard line. Oliver again gave Olive Branch a bit of a breather, running for a 27-yard gain on third and 6 to bring the Conquistadors to the 31-yard line, but was forced to push the ball back near midfield.
The Eagles returned the ball at the 20-yard line after Brady’s pass fell incomplete on a fourth and 8 attempts, but the Conquistadors were forced to push the ball back and both teams saw eggs from goose after the end of three quarters. .
After trading points on their next possessions, it looked like Olive Branch would get on the board first. Junior defensive back Kam Hall intercepted Brady’s pass at the Conquistadors 40-yard line and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. The game was however recalled after Olive Branch was flagged for a block in the back. Evangelical Christian School and Olive Branch would then return the ball again on the downs, and the Eagles would call with another punt on their next possession.
Olive Branch finally broke the scoreless tie with a minute left in the fourth quarter after Oliver sprinted 85 yards to score a touchdown to make it 7-0 with the extra kick.
Starting from his own 32-yard line, Brady got the Eagles’ first down with a 13-yard run to reach his own 45-yard line with 40 seconds remaining, then connected on a 55-yard pass to rookie Deuce Shannon for give First Evangelical Christian base on the five-yard line.
Senior running back Jaylen Greenwood scored on second and goal to make it a 7-6 game with: 18 seconds left. The Eagles successfully converted for two points with Brady connecting with junior Garrett Wilson to go 8-7.
The Eagles recovered the kick in play with: 13 seconds left and ran on time and secured the win.
Jones said the team played well overall and gave her a lot of effort, but said they have things to work on to get ready for next week.
“All you can do in this situation is keep working and come back and find whatever we’ve done wrong and fix it,” Jones said. “It doesn’t matter if we dominated the game statistically – which we did. It doesn’t matter unless you put the ball in the end zone. But nothing you did until this won’t dictate anything.