DAHLONEGA, Ga. - History continues to be made in the Gold City as Lumpkin County exacted some revenge for last year's playoff exit.
For the first time in program history, the Indians are headed to the Class 3A quarterfinals after a 45-42 double overtime win against Oconee County.
"So proud of our guys and how they compete and fight," said Heath Webb. "It's a tremendous night for our team, program, and community, and we are fired up here in the Gold City."
The Indians found themselves in a very familiar scenario at the end of regulation: tied at 35-35 like they were five weeks ago at home against White County in a game the Indians ultimately won in four overtimes. That experience, Webb says, was huge for the team.
"For us to know what was going to happen and how it all plays out was big for us. The experience of feeling the highs and lows of an overtime game and never flinch was huge for our guys."
The Indians took an early lead on a 7-yard pass from Cal Faulkner to Walker Scott, but Oconee County answered with a rushing score from Mac Ricks. Faulkner answered with one of his own from 34 yards away, but after a missed PAT, the Warriors answered and took a 14-13 lead.
The Warriors extended their lead early in the second half, but Faulkner and company found a response on a 73-yard pass to Nolan Matthews, coupled with a two-point conversion pass to Harper Davenport to tie the game right back up.
Oconee County quickly retook the lead on a 65-yard rushing score from Caiden Wood, but that's when Mason Sullens finally entered the scoring column as he plunged in from a yard out early in the fourth to give the Indians new life in a 28-28 game. After Wood scored again from 74 yards out, the Indians drove but were stopped on fourth down, forcing their defense to stand in and try and get the ball back.
"We had a pretty good clue as to what play was coming on that [third down] play, and our kids executed. The same thing happened in overtime with the same play call on offense and our defense stood up again to get the stop we needed."
After the stop and a big punt return, Faulkner found Matthews again to tie the game and force overtime. Sullens scored on the opening possession for the Indians, but the Warriors answered with a 10-yard rushing score from Ricks. The Indian defense got the big stop on fourth down, setting up Will Staples to kick the game-winning 24-yard field goal.
"We're ecstatic for our program, our kids and our community. To see the stadium pour onto the field after the field goal went through was surreal."
Faulkner finished the night with 216 yards on 12-of-17 passing, adding 97 yards on the ground. Sullens had 137 rushing yards and two scores, while Matthews had 111 yards receiving. For the Warriors, Wood had 278 rushing yards on 28 touches.
The Indians will now play host to Savannah Christian next week, looking to add to the history books once again in the Gold City.