EUPORA – The Ackerman Indians were about to deliver the knockout punch.
Derrick Jones intercepted a pass and took it back 90 yards late in the second quarter to start a rally and Eupora scored 15 unanswered points to win 22-18 Friday night in a Class 2A, Region 2, District 4 game at Wafford Field.
"It maybe, since I've been here, the biggest comeback for a win," Eupora head coach Junior Graham said. "Our kids responded. This is a game of emotion and momentum."
With an 18-7 lead late in the first half, Ackerman (6-3, 2-1) kicked a short kickoff and the Eagles (8-1, 3-0) were unable to recover it.
The Indians took over at the Eagle 33-yard line with 1;59 to go in the first half. The very next play, quarterback Dakota Brasher overthrew his receiver and Jones was there to take it back.
The Eagles faked the kick and holder-quarterback Trey Pittman found Savon Daughtery for the 2-point conversion to make it 18-15.
"They were doing what most people doing, extend their lead going into halftime," Graham said. "We made a play on their sideline and it got us back in the ballgame."
The Indians were going to take a chance and tried to increase their lead before halftime.
"We thought we had a chance to go up another score," Ackerman head coach Adam Dillinger said. "(Jones) made a heck of a play. That was a big swing right there. We just couldn't score in the second half."
The Indians did not do much with the ball when they got it back and time ran out to make it an 18-15 Indian lead at the half.
Both defenses settled down in the third quarter, but Eupora took a chance in the fourth.
Daugthery rushed in from 19 yards out with 10:16 to go in the game to give the Eagles the lead for good.
After each team traded possessions, the Indians got the ball back with 1:50 on their own 26-yard line.
On fourth and 15, Brasher found Quinton Lane for 19 yards to keep Ackerman's hopes alive. After a Brasher run and a facemask call, Ackerman had the ball on the Eagle 29-yard line.
Graham sent the blitz and Jamall Roby hit Brasher in the backfield to cause a fumble, and Roby recovered to seal the win.
"We had a good call on," Graham said. "If he gets his feet under him and throws the ball there, they have a good play. It just went in our favor."
The momentum seemed to be with the Indians as they put themselves in a good spot to win the game.
"It happens," Dillinger said. "We were giving ourselves a shot. We were about to score there. They made a play. That's a good football team, so hats off to them."
Eupora got on the board first in the first quarter. On a halfback pass, Rusty Johnson found Jones for a 35-yard touchdown strike. The Eagles took a 7-0 lead.
Brasher came out throwing in the second quarter. He found Jamarcus Bradley for a 9-yard strike and then found Lenny Taylor for a 14-yard touchdown.
"We knew they were a good defense," Dillinger said. "We were going to have to mix it up and do some play action passes. We've had some success throwing the ball."
T.C. Hatchett capped the Indians scoring, when he punched it in from 4 yards out in the second quarter. That score was set up by an Alex Foust interception.
"Our kids played really hard," Dillinger said. "I'm proud of them."