It took five overtimes to complete, but the Armstrong Middle School Yellowjackets from Starkville dropped a 28-26 decision to Tupelo Thursday night.
The wild finish came with the 8th grade Jackets coming up short on a two-point conversion run trying to force a sixth overtime.
"I was just proud of our kids," Armstrong coach Steve Denson said. "That was championship football. Both teams played with great character and they just made a play at the end to win it. We ran out of gas at the end.
"It was a big play at the end of (regulation). We should have scored and not even gone into overtime, but those are the breaks which happen sometimes."
Regulation ended at 6-6 with Armstrong quarterback Jaquez Horsley fumbling the football into the end zone. It appeared Horsley had broken across the goal before losing the ball, but the official ruled otherwise.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, then Jay Clay caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Horsley in double overtime for the Jackets. The two-point conversion failed and Tupelo matched the points to send the outing into a third overtime.
After Tupelo scored to go up 20-12, Armstrong got an 8-yard touchdown run from Horsley and a two-point conversion run from Matt Fuller to tie the game again.
The two teams had a scoreless fourth overtime before Tupelo delivered the deciding blow in the fifth with a touchdown and two-point conversion run. After Horsley hit Clay for an 8-yard scoring pass to close the gap to 28-26, the game ended on the failed two-point conversion.
Horsley, who had 78 yards on 12 carries, had the only points for the Jackets in the first half on a 66-yard touchdown run. The Golden Wave tied the game when the quarterback broke loose on a bootleg run.
9th Grade Game
Starkville 12, Tupelo 0
With the length of the 8th grade game, the 9th grade contest started late, but it was worth the wait for the Jackets as they shut out the visiting Golden Wave.
A 10-yard touchdown pass from Princeton Jones to Taylor Johnston gave Starkville a 6-0 lead at halftime.
Running back Darius Grayer finished the game with 73 yards rushing on 12 carries for the Jackets.