Pisgah has lost its first conference game since 2017.
Both teams entered the night riding four-game winning streaks, leaving many to think it would be a close contest. Fans were not disappointed, as the game ended up going to overtime, where Smoky Mountain was able score a touchdown to win 19-13.
The Bears, wearing all-black uniforms, tried to make a statement as they slow-walked out of the locker room, but it was the Mustangs who made the game’s first real statement by starting off with a pooch kick, which they recovered on their own 47-yard line.
However, courtesy of a Smoky Mountain hold and a couple incomplete passes in a row, Pisgah got the ball back and took it all the way to the red zone. Then, from the 1-yard line, quarterback Korey Griffith, who also had two nice completions on the drive, punched it in for the game’s first points. Following a failed two-point conversion, Pisgah took a 6-0 lead.
From there, Smoky Mountain showed off its running game to dominate the time of possession battle thanks to strong play from the running backs, speedster Dustin Stephens and power back Will Frady.
With the game at 6-3, Smoky Mountain got the ball with 6:55 left in the half and used the rest of the clock to drive all the way to the Pisgah 3. However, the Mill Town defense, bolstered by a raucous home crowd, did what it does best and held the line, even pushing Frady back a couple times to stop the Mustangs short of the end zone. While Smoky Mountain hit the chip-shot field goal to tie the game going into the break, courtesy of the goal-line stand, Pisgah had the momentum going into halftime.
Neither team was able to gain an advantage throughout the third quarter until three minutes into the fourth quarter. Pisgah managed to move the ball well up to midfield, where on third and 1 Griffith stumbled forward on the keeper, emerged from the scrum, found some room and beat the Smoky Mountain safeties in a footrace to the end zone. Following the extra point, Pisgah took a 13-6 lead.
On the next drive, Smoky Mountain answered back. After moving the ball 80 yards, on third and goal with just one yard to go, quarterback Caleb Lominac, who stands about 6-foot-7, kept the ball, and on a second effort, broke the plane to score. After nailing the extra point, the game was knotted up at 13 with 1:50 left.
To make matters worse for the Bears, on the first play of the next drive, Griffith tossed the ball deep down the middle, and it was picked off by a Smoky Mountain safety, giving The Mustangs the ball at their own 15 with a minute left and two time outs. However, Smoky Mountain was content to run the clock down and send the game to overtime.
Pisgah started overtime with the ball. Over three downs, The Bears lost two yards, leaving kicker Wilson Moody with a 30-yard field goal, which went short and wide right. Smoky Mountain was able to capitalize on the very next play as Will Frady powered the ball 10 yards into the end zone for the win.
Check Monday’s edition of The Mountaineer for a full recap.