Tallulah 54, Prairie View 46
It's hard to believe that Friday night's MAIS 8-man Division 3 showdown between No. 5 Tallulah and Academy and No. 1 Prairie View started out as a defensive slugfest.
Prairie View carried an 8-6 lead into intermission. Then the defenses got exhausted and the offenses got untracked.
Quarterback Josh Collins scored six touchdowns for the second straight week as the Trojans spoiled the Spartans' home opener 54-46.
Scoring on all seven full second half possessions, the Trojans outscored the Spartans 28-14 in the decisive third quarter.
Graham Tweedle returned the second half kickoff 52 yards to the Prairie View 30.
Two plays later, Garrett Parris scored from three yards out to give the visitors their first lead. Collins' 2-point run brought the score to 14-8 just 32 seconds into the third frame.
Prairie View's next drive was disrupted when back-to-back penalties negated first down plays. David Peterson's fourth down sack put the Trojans back in business at the plus-37.
Collins' 3-yard burst on the fourth play of the drive made it 20-8.
Parker Morgan's sack enabled Tallulah to take over on downs with another short field at the Prairie View 32.
Two plays later, Collins was back in the endzone from 24 yards out. Parris' conversion run put Tallulah in command 28-8.
Covering a squib kick at their own 37, the Spartans struck instantly as Luke Denman threw to Layton Woodard for a 63-yard touchdown. Gage Riles' 2-point run closed the gap to 28-16.
Tallulah was back on the board four plays later as Collins' 21-yard run expanded the margin to 34-16.
Converting on fourth-and-two, Woodard took a reverse to the house from 43 yards out to bring the Spartans within 34-22 in the waning seconds of the third quarter.
The teams traded touchdowns throughout the final quarter.
Converting its 2-point tries, the Spartans were able to gradually cut into the deficit.
Collins opened the fourth quarter scoring with a 10-yard run.
Greg Tatum's 42-yard run off of an inside handoff and Denman's conversion run drew the Spartans within 40-30.
Collins' 44-yard jaunt pushed the Tallulah lead out to 46-30.
Jaheem Brown's 51-yard reception from Denman, and Austin Carroll's conversion run made it a one-possession game, 46-38, with 4:21 to play.
Recovering the onside kick at its own 45, the Trojans scored three plays later on Carter Sullivan's 26-yard dash up the middle. Collins' run for two increased the spread to 54-38.
Prairie View then marched 61 yards on eight plays. Carroll's 10-yard pass from Denman and Riles' 2-point catch again brought the Spartans within a single possession at 54-46. However, time was running out with only 1:18 to go.
Tallulah was able to take a knee after the ensuing onside kick did not travel the necessary 15 yards (8-man rules require onside kicks to cover 15 yards rather than 10).
Starting the game on offense, Prairie View scored on its third offensive play when Woodard out-jumped a defender on a 38-yard pass from Jacob Farrar.
There was no further scoring until Collins eluded two defenders in the backfield and took off for a 66-yard touchdown run with 4:53 remaining before halftime.
Offsetting a quiet start, Collins finished the evening with 297 yards on 21 carries. Parris added 100 yards on 10 totes as the Trojans rushed for 481 yards.
Denman had a big night at quarterback, completing 17-of-22 passes for 199 yards and three scores. Woodard caught five passes for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns to go with a 43-yard TD run.
Prairie View (2-1) is at home Friday against Tensas Academy, while the Trojans (3-0) open a three-game homestand against defending state champion Briarfield.