West Oktibbeha head coach Adam Lowrey felt like his team needed to work on their onside kick in recent weeks, but he did not expect them to need to use it.
As fate would have it, Friday night’s 32-26 win over Noxapater came down to an onside kick.
The Timberwolves scored on an 18-yard pass from quarterback Von Smith to receiver Aaron Brownlee with 3:28 left in the game to pull the score within one point of the visiting Tigers at 26-25. Lowrey made the gutsy call to go for the two-point conversion and the win, but Smith’s pass went just over the head of Dwight Quinn and fell to the ground.
It was time to attempt and onside kick.
Pavious Lawrence kicked the ball up the middle of the field, and in the scramble a Timberwolves player came up with the ball (no one on the sidelines was sure who got it.)
“We needed it tonight, and it worked,” said Lowrey, who was coaching against his former teammate at Louisville High School, Tyler Peterson.
The Timberwolves took over at their own 45-yard line, and moved to the Noxapater 47 after a 12-yard completion from Smith to Drake Powell. A 45-yard run by sophomore Tiberius Lampkin set the Timberwolves up at the Noxapater goal line, and two plays later he punched it in for the go-ahead score. West Oktibbeha held Noxpater on their final drive and went home with a 32-36 victory.
The touchdown was Lampkin’s second of the night, as he began the game’s scoring with a 61-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Lampkin finished with 127 rushing yards behind Steven Robinson, Jeremy Brown and Lawrence. He also had 76 receiving yards for the night.
After halftime, Lowrey made the decision to give Lampkin more carries after listening to what his lineman had to say.
“He was rippin em," Lowrey said. "The boys told me they we’re soft up the middle, and I was greedy throwing a little too much.”
The Timberwolves appeared to be comfortably ahead at halftime, up 13-0 after a 19-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Quinn, but turnovers and penalties put Noxapater back in the lead.
Noxapater first got on the scoreboard with a double-pass that ended with Gregory McBeath in the end zone. West Oktibbeha extended the lead back to two touchdowns on a Quinn run from 11 yards out in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, a 40-yard dash to the corner of the end zone by Noxapater quarterback Ethan Hamilton put the Tigers up 26-19, but the Timberwolves rallied to score two more touchdowns before time ran out to lock up the win.
Lowrey said he pulled out all the stops in Friday’s win, and did not want to leave anything in his arsenal unused.
“I can’t go home with my big guns loaded, still in the truck," Lowrey said. "I better shoot them rascals before I can’t shoot anymore.”
Lowrey and the Timberwolves will look to build on their back-to-back wins when they take on Thomastown next Friday. For now, Lowrey is just thankful for his team’s ability to overcome adversity.
“Hey, we won," Lowrey said.