Prairie View 66, Tensas 58 (OT)
ST. JOSEPH — Prairie View believes in living on the edge. Gage Riles' fumble recovery in overtime sealed the Spartans' 66-58 MAIS 8-man quarterfinal playoff victory over Tensas Academy on Friday night.
Four weeks ago, the Spartans pulled out a 60-56 homecoming victory over district rival Prentiss Christian (Miss.) when Luke Denman fired a 37-yard touchdown pass to Layton Woodard on the final play of the game.
"I told the kids they have played in two games over the last four weeks that they will remember for the rest of their lives," Prairie View coach Bo Barton said.
Prairie View, the No. 5 seed, had its way with No. 4 Tensas in the regular season, 28-8. With quarterback/linebacker Carter Thompson, who missed the Sept. 7 meeting in the lineup, the Chiefs were a different team.
Now the Spartans (10-1) get their coveted rematch with No. 1 Tallulah (11-0) Friday night in the semifinals. Tallulah dealt the Spartans their only loss in a 52-44 Week 3 nailbiter in Bastrop. Friday night's game will be played in Tallulah.
Against Tensas, the Spartans battled back from a 16-point first quarter deficit and went ahead by 8 early in the fourth quarter before the Chiefs tied the game at 58 with about a minute left to force the extra session.
With the Spartans facing second down from the nine in overtime, Austin Carroll followed Mason King and Caleb Christmas up the middle for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. Luke Denman's 2-point run brought the score to 66-58.
Thompson carried for four yards to start the Chiefs' overtime series. On second down, Riles pounced on a fumbled exchange to secure the Prairie View victory.
Carroll's second of four touchdowns — this one from 12 yards away — drew the Spartans within 38-30 at halftime.
Greg Tatum returned the second half kickoff 33 yards to the Tensas 40, and Denman found Woodard on a 27-yard touchdown pass five plays later. Carroll's conversion run squared the score at 38.
Thompson and Denman then traded 1-yard touchdown runs, bringing the score to 44-44.
Davis' 66-yard kickoff return put the Chiefs back in front, but Carroll answered with a 45-yard TD jaunt. Hunter Little's 2-point reception gave the Spartans their first lead, 52-50.
Prairie View then made a pivotal stop as Carroll and Jacob Farrar shut down a fourth-and-one run for no gain at the 30 in Spartans' territory.
Carroll's 35-yard scamper set up Denman's 9-yard touchdown, which expanded the difference to 58-50 early in the fourth quarter.
Providing yet another big play on the Spartans' next defensive series, Carroll forced a fumble to end a Tensas threat. Tyler Peters made the recovery at the Prairie View 2.
On first-and-five from the 7, Jaheem Brown moved the chains with a 13-yard run to the 20.
After Carroll's 75-yard TD dash on fourth-and-five was erased by a penalty, the Spartans punted from the 14.
Morgan Lee's 14-yard punt return put the Chiefs in business at the 30.
Peters' first down sack pushed the Chiefs back five yards before Thompson hit Davis in stride in the endzone from 35 yards out. Thompson ran the all-important 2-point conversion to deadlock the game at 58.
Regaining possession on the kickoff, the Chiefs set up at the Prairie View 40 with time winding down in regulation.
Lee picked up 28 yards on a screen pass and Thompson spiked the ball to stop the clock. Farrar and Woodard then combined to stop a short pass for a gain of one as time expired.
Carroll rushed for 150 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries despite having the 75-yarder called back. He added four receptions for 55 yards and logged a team-high 12 tackles.
Denman also rushed for triple digits yardage (19 carries, 107 yards, 3 TDs) while completing 8-of-10 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Notes: Prairie View has reached the semifinals for the second straight season, including last year in Class 2A as an 11-man squad. ... The Spartans ran their winning streak to eight. ... Farrar made his first start at quarterback since the Tallulah game, though Denman took over on the third series and went the rest of the way. ... Tensas (6-5) compiled a winning record after winning just one game in 2017. Coach Joe Coats' Chiefs won their first district title since 2011 when they went on to win the state championship.