In a match-up of nationally respected and ranked teams Sandy Creek and Plant left it all on the field until the streetlights came on and momma said come inside. That was the case as Plant (0-0-1) and Sandy Creek (0-0-1) played to a 27-27 tie as the game was called with 1:50 left in the 4th quarter due to a school-night curfew of 11:30pm EDT in the season opener for both teams.
As the drama built there was only one clock on every ones mind, the game clock. With 2:21 left in the fourth quarter Sandy Creek’s Brian Miller blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt by Plant that would have given Plant the lead. Plant forced Sandy Creek to go three-and-out and Sandy Creek punted to the Plant 43 with 1:50 remaining, who knew that would be the last play of the game as the refs called the game and the two teams met at the fifty and shook hands.
Sandy Creek started slow committing two turnovers on their first two touches. Quarterback Cole Garvin was intercepted on the games first play and Demarre Kitt muffed a punt moments later. Plant would use the latter turnover to go up 6-0 on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Colby Brown to Clarke Miller ending the short 31-yard drive. Plant would extend their lead to 12-0 on 20-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Austin Hudson capping the 53-yard drive with 5:28 left in the second half.
“I don’t know what it was (the slow start), we just didn’t play good early and after we got down it was a lot better,” Sandy Creek head coach Chip Walker said.
Sandy Creek would wake up on offense as Plant had been dominating the time of possession up to that point. “Our defense had to play too much early, we couldn’t get them off the field early and that hurt us the rest of the night,” Walker said about his defense.
Sandy Creek did not register their first first down of the game until the 5:15 mark of the second quarter, two first downs later junior Delvin Weems raced 42-yards for a touchdown cutting the Plant lead to five, 12-7. Junior Brian Miller intercepted Brown on the next play from scrimmage and Eric Swinney finished it for the Patriots with 5-yard touchdown run with :45 seconds left in the half.
Plant had some threatening kickoff returns late in the first half so Jordan Reed decided to take one all the way back 98 yards for a touchdown to open the third quarter putting Plant back on top 19-13. Sandy Creek’s offense continued to build on their momentum when Delvin Weems broke loose for a 48-yard run and later took it in from five yards out finishing the 75-yard drive putting Sandy Creek ahead 20-19 with 8:06 left in the third.
The Panthers were on the move again but fumbled at the Sandy Creek 12 yard line and it was more Delvin Weems after that. Weems took the hand off, shot through the line, pulled away from a defender, outraced another one to the corner, stiff armed another near the sideline and then turned on the jets to race in for a 71-yard touchdown run and a 27-19 Patriot lead with 6:06 left.
“He played great tonight I mean he really did. He showed up and did some really really good things…heck ain’t no telling how many yards he had with all those big runs,” Walker said about his talented junior running back. Weems finished with 9 totes 182 yards and three touchdowns.
Plant was far from finished as the back and forth affair continued as Plant caused a sack-fumble on Garvin giving them the ball at the Sandy Creek 32. The Panthers would get points off the turnover on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Fletcher Barnes to pull them with in two points. After a time out Alexander Jackson scored the two-point conversion tying the game at 27 with seven seconds left in the third quarter.
“It was a great football game with two really good football teams going at it. They played good and I thought we played good at times… we just gotta go work and get better,” Walker said.
Even though they didn’t lose they did as Sandy Creek’s 39-game regular season winning streak was snapped by a tie because of the curfew. On the bright side they still have a 40-game unbeaten streak alive. We don’t make this stuff up.