Cade O'Bryan makes a tackle Saturday. Photo by Richard Davis
Football - Sat, Nov. 12, 2016
A 16-yard passing route with less than a minute remaining set up visiting University of Pikeville for a game-winning field goal at Georgetown College Saturday. It was third and four and the Bears (6-5, 5-1) came out of their first timeout of the half on GC's 40-yardline. Bowen Smith worked the pocket a bit before Austin Pray came wide open in the middle near the Tigers' (7-4, 5-1) 24-yard line.
UPike coach Allan Holland, Jr. then used a dive to get on the hash mark he wanted and wasted the clock until it showed 3.4. He called another timeout and ran Damir Karapandzic onto the field.
The kicker hit it low but long enough as it sailed through the uprights with no time left. This gave Pikeville a 10-7 win, its first ever over Georgetown.
The Tigers came into the day ranked 17th and needing the win to not only clinch an outright Mid-South Conference East Divisional title, but also a playoff spot.
"Hats off to Pikeville," said GC coach Bill Cronin. "It's a historic day for them to beat us. Obviously the odds were that it was going to happen sooner or later. But here we are, and all I can say is that we will learn from it."
In the past GC and UPike have tangled in offensive juggernauts, but seeing the 15-year streak end in a defensive battle might leave some scratching their heads.
Both teams, like several others in the MSC East, have been playing most of this season without the planned starting quarterback. Saturday, it showed on both sides as only 408 total yards were gained between the two teams. Pikeville ended with 297, but most of that was gained on a pair of second half drives that also gave the visitors their points.
The visitors received the second half kick and started a drive on their own 17. UPike marched 83 yards for the tying score, highlighted by Willie McCloud's 46-yard gain on third and four. The final scoring drive, Pikeville started on its own 23.
GC's defense and special teams gave the hosts plenty of opportunities to put points on the board. Josh Harris stopped an early Bear drive with an interception. The Tigers had the ball at UPike's 22.
Georgetown went backward and had to punt.
At the end of the first quarter, Damon Gray blocked a punt that put GC on the UPike 7-yard line. Three plays of just two yards gained led to a Josh Depp field goal try that went wide.
"We had some opportunities and didn't take advantage of them," Cronin said. "We're human. It hurt a lot when we didn't get anything out of it, but you have to move on. We just didn't do enough unfortunately."
Zach Harris put the Tigers up first with a 5-yard rushing touchdown late in the second quarter. It capped a 15-play drive and for a while seemed to be the only offense either team might generate.
The loss will drop Georgetown from the Top 19, the lowest ranking allowable in the NAIA national playoffs, and thus end the Tigers season.
"It's over," Cronin said. "You can't have four losses and get into the playoffs, nor do I think you should."