OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee won a thriller in five overtime periods, 65-58 over Bayside Friday. Lamar Williams rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns for Okeechobee and Bubba Fludd scored three touchdowns in the overtime sessions and threw a touchdown pass.
It was the longest game in school history and also the highest scoring game in school history.
Sheridon Archer rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears, (0-8). D’andre Edwards added 72 yards and three touchdown runs for Bayside.
The game was decided on the Brahman goal line when quarterback Patric McNally fumbled while trying to score on a quarterback sneak in the fifth overtime.
Fludd made two unbelievable touchdown runs in the overtimes, spinning out of tackles and fighting his way across the goal line.
“In truth we could have played a lot better. We had a lot of mental mistakes and mistakes due to immaturity. We were focused in practice but we lost it at game time. We picked it up though in overtime,” he stated.
Fludd said he knew the Bear defense was focused on Williams so twice he kept the ball and headed toward the goal line. “I had to pull it and score and do nothing else but score.”
Okeechobee jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes and for a time it looked like a quick night for the Brahmans. Bayside though stunned OHS with a hook-and-ladder play that covered 60 yards to Archer. They added a 12-play, 59-yard drive and scored on a 4-yard run by Edwards to score a touchdown to tie the game on the first play of the second quarter.
From there it was back and forth throughout the night. Okeechobee responded with a 10-play, 64-yard drive and a 10-yard touchdown run by Williams for a 21-14 lead. After the Bears failed on a fake punt of the second time in the half, Okeechobee scored on a five-play, 29-yard drive when Fludd hit Colton Smith for a short touchdown pass. Smith made a wonderful fingertip catch on the low throw to give Okeechobee a 28-14 advantage.
Bayside battled back with a quick 53-yard touchdown drive where McNally found Xavier Hendrix on a 26-yard touchdown pass.
The Bears nearly scored again before halftime but Jacob Emmick picked off a McNally pass on the final play of the half in the Brahman end zone.
Okeechobee went up 35-21 in the third quarter thanks to a fumble recovery by Matt Garcia. On third and long, Fludd hit Andravious Stallworth with a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Bayside pulled to within 35-28 after a seven-play, 80-yard drive keyed by a 50-yard quarterback scramble by McNally. Edwards scored on a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
Bayside tied the score in the final three minutes after a 14-play, 92-yard drive keyed by a huge third and long pass from McNally to Troy Hilton for 26 yards. Hilton had 47 yards and a touchdown catch in the game.
Overtime was wild from the start. Fludd fumbled a snap, picked it up and ran 10 yards for a touchdown on the first play. Williams added a short conversion run for a 43-35 lead. Bayside would battle back to tie as McNally hit Hilton with an 8-yard touchdown pass and Archer ran in the conversion for a 43-43 tie. Archer would score again in the second overtime with a 6-yard touchdown run. Okeechobee responded with a 2-yard run by Williams to knot the score at 50 apiece. Neither team would score in the third overtime as Okeechobee fumbled on a fourth and goal at the 1-yard line. Two defensive tackles and a penalty pushed the Bears back and Rachel Van Mier was just short on a 31-yard field goal try that would have won the game for the Bears. In the fourth overtime, Bayside went back on top on a 4-yard run by Archer. He added a two-point conversion after Okeechobee was penalized for running into the kicker to give the Bears a 58-50 lead. Okeechobee responded with a third down touchdown run by Fludd from the 7-yard line and Williams added a tough two-point conversion run to tie the game 5858. In the final stanza, Fludd scored on the first play to give Okeechobee a 65-58 lead. He called the play a circle butt as he spun out of the grasp of two tacklers at the five-yard line and fought over the goal line. Bayside got down to the 1-yard line on an 8-yard run by McNally and a 1-yard run by Archer, who was stopped at the one by Zeke Matthews and Patrick Covington. On third down McNally tried to struggle to put the ball over the goal but fumbled and the game was over.
Coach Chris Branham said his defense struggled for much of the game but played well when it had to.
“We didn’t start to fill and come down hill with any initiative or passion or urgency until overtime. We started to make it hard on them at the end,” he explained.
Branham said the team felt they had a good game plan and made some mistakes like penalties and turnovers that stopped them from scoring.
“We stopped ourselves for the most part. We felt we could have played much better. Defensively we played when it mattered. We’re a long way from where we want to be. Monday we’ll keep pushing, keep encouraging and get the most out of our players that we can.”
Offensive linemen Evan Neal, who like most of his teammates, was dead tired at the end, said he felt the team played hard throughout the game.
“I’m happy to get this win. I wanted to do nothing but win the game. We were not going to lose this football game tonight,” he added.
Juanyae Ford and Arthur Woodruff had quarterback sacks for the Brahmans (3-4). Stallworth recovered a fumble for OHS. Drayton Billie had a solid game with 55-yards rushing and a touchdown. Zeke Matthews recovered a fumble for the Brahmans. Matt Garcia had a nice game with two tackles for loss. Damarious Langston had an interception for Bayside. Darnell Jorden had three tackles in the backfield for the Bears. Jonathon Vega left the game with an injury but had a tackle in the backfield for OHS. Okeechobee also blocked a punt in the game. Xavier Hendrix had 106 yards in receptions and a touchdown for Bayside. Okeechobee plays at Eau Gallie next Friday.
Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News