Lone Grove football rallies in 2nd half to beat Pauls Valley

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Lone Grove Caden Gilmore, right, fakes a handoff to Braxton Sparks earlier this season. The duo accounted for all four touchdowns Friday in a 28-26 win over Pauls Valley.

The Lone Grove High School football team showed it has a flair for the late-game dramatics as the Longhorns used a second-half rally and red-zone stand to hold off Pauls Valley 28-26.

It appeared Lone Grove would experience another last-second defeat Friday before an interception with 14 seconds remaining sealed the two-point win.

The Longhorns took their first lead of the game with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter when Braxton Sparks received a pitch and scampered six yards for a 28-26 advantage. That lead looked safe until Pauls Valley drove down to the one-yard line, only to be called for a five-yard penalty.

On the next play, the Panthers tried to force a throw and Lone Grove picked off the pass to clinch the district victory.

Caden Gilmore and Sparks led the Longhorns with two touchdowns apiece. Gilmore found sophomore Brody Harris for one score, while rushing for another. Meanwhile, Sparks ran for both of his touchdowns.

The Longhorns showed no deficit is too large, as they scored 28 unanswered points, highlighted by 21 in the second half. Fourth-down conversions played a big role in two of those scores as Caden Gilmore stepped up with clutch plays.

The junior quarterback’s biggest completion of the night was to Jackson Grace on fourth down that set up Braxton Sparks’ touchdown to bring Lone Grove within 26-21 with 11:30 left in the fourth.

Gilmore also converted another in the third quarter that set up his one-yard touchdown at the 3:56 mark.

The Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 District 3A-2) are back in action at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 on the road against Kingston.