By Floyd Ingram
A hard-fought defensive contest saw Hebron Christian down Kemper Academy, 18-12 in an overtime thriller Friday night.
The game started slow as both the Eagles and Rams used hard-hitting defense to keep the score low and the game in question until it could be decided in a four-down, fifth quarter.
“I told both teams after the game that it was sad someone had to lose this game,” said Hebron coach David Foster. “That was as good a football game as I have seen in a long time. Both teams played hard, they didn't give up and it wasn't decided until the last play.”
Hebron sought to establish the running game early and marched up and down the field most of the first half. The Rams fumbled once but also saw an interception by Hayden Carty to balance out turnovers.
Kemper drew first blood with a six-play, 75-yard drive that saw Kemper's Justin Jowers run left for a 5-yard TD at the 1:13 mark of the second quarter. The two-point conversion was no good and Kemper carried a 6-0 lead into the halftime locker room.
“We knew they had a good passing attack and both our corners did a good job of reading the plays,” said Foster. “They kept Kemper's receivers covered but also stepped up when they had to and made tackles on sweeps.”
Kemper came out in the third quarter and drove 58-yards to the Hebron 7-yard line before Ram defender Drew Myatt tipped the ball away on a 4-and-goal pass attempt.
Myatt would deflect three other Kemper passes and Landon Hill grabbed an interception late in the third quarter.
Hebron got on the scoreboard on a lightning fast 6-play drive that covered 93 yards. Quarterback Collin Moore broke a 35-yard run and running back Justin Moore had a 25-yard run to gobble up the yards. Moore ran left and got a critical block on the corner to rip off another 21-yards and the score. The two-point conversion was no good and the game was tied 6-6 with 13.7 second left to play.
But Kemper threw an interception on their next play from scrimmage and Hebron's Landon Hill raced 34-yards for the score. The two-point conversion was no good. But the Rams held a 12-6 advantage as the third quarter ended.
Kemper came back at the 7:50 mark in the fourth and tied the game when they intercepted a Ram pass and ran 27-yards to score. A controversial two-point conversion saw referees rule the ball was fumbled before the running back made it into the end zone.
And it all came down to overtime.
Kemper ran four plays and made it to the Hebron 3-yard line before they stalled.
Hebron's Moore settled the game when he ran left and threaded the sideline to score on the Rams' first play in overtime.
“We are 2-0 in the district and this was a great win for us,” said Foster. “I saw a team that played together and played as a team.
“We played some of the best defense we have played all year,” said Foster. “They sucked it up and got the job done when they had to.”
Hebron travels to Central Academy in Macon for another conference contest Friday night. The Rams finish up the season Nov. 1 at Calhoun Academy.