The Lone Grove Longhorns kept their playoff hopes alive as they battled back from a 21-point deficit on two occasions to defeat the Pauls Valley Panthers 35-34 in a thrilling overtime District 3A-2 matchup Thursday night at Longhorn Field.


The Lone Grove Longhorns kept their playoff hopes alive as they battled back from a 21-point deficit on two occasions to defeat the Pauls Valley Panthers 35-34 in a thrilling overtime District 3A-2 matchup Thursday night at Longhorn Field.

Lone Grove quarterback Jacob McClennahan scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper, and the PAT was added by Longhorn kicker R.J. Jimenez to put Lone Grove up 35-28 in their overtime possession. Pauls Valley scored on a 7-yard run by Dylan Norman, used a time out and decided to go for the win with an attempted two-point conversion. But the Longhorn defense stacked up Norman just before he could make it to the goal line, and Lone Grove celebrated its first district win of the 2010 season.

It was a game of two halves with Lone Grove struggling to stop Pauls Valley in the first half and the Panthers trying to slow the Longhorns in the second half.

Pauls Valley (1-7, 1-3  District 3A-2), scored on both of its first quarter possessions. Norman ran it in from six yards out to cap off a nine-play, 59-yard Panther drive to put the visitors on top 7-0 with 6:46 left in the first quarter. A fumble by Lone Grove’s Dalton Keeton was recovered by Pauls Valley’s Chris Colmenzrez at the Longhorn 42-yard line helped set up the next Panther score.

Five plays and 2 minutes later Pauls Valley quarterback, Joe Foster, hit Nick Crawford with an 11-yard touchdown pass.

Lone Grove (2-5, 1-3) continued to struggle on offense. They moved to the Pauls Valley 13-yard line before turning it over on downs early in the second quarter.

Following the defensive stand, the Panthers drove quickly for a 21-point lead.

Foster scored on a quarterback keeper from a yard out with 4 minutes left before the break to put Pauls Valley on top 21-0.  By intermission the Panthers had 154 yards of offense to just 69 yards for the Longhorns.

Early in the third, Lone Grove again moved deep inside Panther territory before turning the ball over on downs at the Pauls Valley 5. But after holding the Panthers to three-and-out, Lone Grove now had the ball at the Pauls Valley 44-yard line.

The Longhorns got the spark they needed when Keeton scored on a 52-yard touchdown run that cut the Panther lead to 21-7.

Keeton finished the game with 25 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

Pauls Valley moved quickly for their fourth touchdown to again take a 3-touchdown lead. This time the Panthers used five plays to move 59 yards with Foster scoring on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to put Pauls Valley on top 28-7 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Lone Grove found that 16 minutes would be plenty of time to knot the game, an ultimately to win it. The next Longhorn possession started late in the third and ended eight seconds into the fourth quarter with Keeton scoring on a 5-yard run around left end to trim the Panther lead to 28-14.

Stopped on their next possession, the Longhorns got a huge break when their punt to the Panther 25-yard line was muffed by Pauls Valley’s Chris Morales.

Lone Grove’s Calvin Helmers made the recovery. Three plays into the drive McClannahan scored on a 10-yard run around left end to make it a 28-21 game.

With 3:40 left in the game, the Longhorns had possession at their own 24-yard line. And Lone Grove simply would not be denied. On the eighth play of the drive, McClannahan found Helmers, who had gotten behind the Panther defenders, for a 37-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 28-all.

Pauls Valley moved all the way to the Longhorn 19-yard line where a Panther fumble was covered by Lone Grove’s Chris Aulds with less than 30 seconds remaining on the game clock to preserve the tie in regulation.  The Panthers turned the ball over three times on fumbles, all in the second half.

McClannahan had 63 rushing yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns. He was 8-of-18 through the air for 115 yards and one touchdown.

Foster was 21-of-27 passing for the Panthers for 279 yards and one touchdown. He scored twice on the ground.

Lone Grove continues their quest for the fourth District 3A-2 playoff spot next Friday when they travel to Dickson to take on the Comets. They host the Purcell Dragons the week after.