The Richardson JJ Pearce Mustangs narrowed out the Irving Nimitz Vikings in overtime 51-48 Thursday night in Eagle-Mustang Stadium.
In a game that saw the momentum shift back and forth between both teams, special teams proved to be the deciding factor as Pearce was able to break through and block the field goal attempt by Nimitz on 4th & Goal at the Pearce 3-yard line. Resilience from Pearce was the story, who heading into halftime was only down 27-20.
Nimitz would strike first as Cody Norris ran downfield 26 yards for the first score of the game. Pearce would respond the ensuing drive with a score of their own from running back Otis Blanton. However, the first half would end up being the Mark Eugene Show. The Nimitz running back ended the first half with 205 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The three touchdowns came from runs of 70, 67 and 37-yards to put his team in the driver’s seat at intermission.
Pearce would come out of halftime firing behind quarterback Gray Rodgers. They tied Nimitz 27-27 in the third quarter after a touchdown run by Rodgers at the 9:21 mark. He would then connect with receiver Jack Brewer for a 27-yard score as Pearce took their first lead of the game. Rodgers would strike again, this time to receiver Cody Benton for a 44-yard touchdown pass to have Pearce up 41-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
Nimitz did not go down without a fight as they put together a fourth quarter rally facing a score of 48-34 with under three minutes remaining. After a Nimitz score and a blocked PAT, the score was 48-40 with 2:46 left. Nimitz would recover the onside kick and score with 42 seconds left. Nimitz would then convert the 2-point play to send it to overtime.
“We really had a chance at halftime to talk to our guys, get them going, figure out what they got and our guys executed the plan perfectly. They came out and executed everything we asked them to,” said head coach David Collins following the close victory. “Proud of my coaches, proud of my kids, proud of these fans, they stuck with it the whole time. This is why high school football is fun!”
Pearce had a short week following their previous contest against McKinney last Friday. Pearce who got their first win of the season against Nimitz will now have to face Frisco Wakeland in Frisco next Friday.
“It’s different obviously but we’ve done it before, we’ve all been through this before. Our kids are used to it so we had to get to work on a short week and clean a lot of stuff up. We still have things to clean up but I’m so proud of how we fought every snap! I’m really proud of our kids and staff,” said Collins in regards to the short week.
“It’s a 1-0 mentality. What a win like this does is help the buy-in. When you are transitioning to a new staff, I think everybody starts to believe in each other a little bit more, but really it’s 1-0 because tomorrow morning when we put this to bed, we got to get ready for a great Wakeland team. They’re going to present an incredible obstacle and challenge for us and we have to go out on top.”