GREENVILLE — Forest Hills Eastern scored the first and final touchdowns against the Greenville Yellow Jackets. It was the last one that hurt the most.
After the Yellow Jackets pulled off a dramatic, final drive score to force overtime, the Eastern defense stepped up and their offense found the end zone one final time to defeat the Yellow Jackets 27-21 on Friday night at Legacy Field.
“How many of these have we had. This is a heartbreaker,” Greenville coach Dave Moore said. “We battled them right to the very end, but came out on the wrong end. You have to be really proud of how we battled.”
Trailing 21-13, the Yellow Jackets started their final drive on the 31-yard line with just 2:44 remaining. The Yellow Jackets marched down the field making key plays along the way, including a big gain on the hook-and-ladder play.
“That was a big play (hook-and-ladder) and then getting the touchdown and two-point conversion,” Moore said. “All of those were must make plays.”
With 17 seconds left, quarterback Ryan Davis found Carter Stephens in the end zone for the touchdown. Needing a two-point conversion to force overtime, Davis dropped back, waited patiently and found Kyle Swindell at the back of the end zone for the conversion to tie the game.
“It was a great drive. We were down eight, had to make plays and our kids did it,” Moore said.
In overtime, each team gets a possession starting on the 10-yard line. This will continue until one team takes the lead. Greenville started the overtime on offense.
After two incomplete passes and a penalty, the Yellow Jackets were backed up to the 27-yard line. Davis’ pass attempt was broken up in the end zone.
On Eastern’s third play of its possession, running back Gabe Vansolksema ran 10 yards on a sweep to the corner of the end zone for the game winning score.
The game was tied at halftime 7-7.
Eastern took a 14-7 lead with a score on its first possession of the second half. Greenville answered with a 75-yard touchdown catch by Carter Stephens. A botched extra point attempt left the Yellow Jackets down by one point 14-13.
Eastern’s Sam Harrison caught a 9-yard touchdown pass with 10:02 to go in the fourth quarter to give the Hawks the lead 21-13.
Davis finished 10-for-20 passing for 175 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Stephens ran for 84 yards and one touchdown and caught three passes for 98 yards and two scores.
Chase Harrington had five catches for 80 yards, while Swindell rushed for 51 yards on 14 carries.
“Give Ryan (Davis) a lot of credit,” Moore said. “He hung in there and made the big plays when he had to.”
Eastern quarterback Luke Wilkerson was 17-for-26 for 204 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 57 yards. Harrison finished with 117 yards catching on nine receptions.
Eastern improved to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the O-K Bronze. Greenville fell to 2-6 and 0-4.
The Yellow Jackets will host Cedar Spings on Friday to wrap up their season.