Late field goal keeps St. Marys perfect

ST. MARYS – Jodi Mote was pretty much matter of fact when describing the inconsistencies of the kicking game at St. Marys.

Of course, all those issues were put under wraps for one evening when Blue Devils placekicker Garrett Furr made a 27-yard field goal with 25 seconds left in regulation to lift his ballclub past Magnolia 11-9 on homecoming Friday night at Imlay Field.

The Class A No. 1 ranked Blue Devils remained unbeaten at 7-0 with a home date with South Harrison next Friday.

“Just a great defensive battle by both teams,” Mote said. “This win is all about the kids. I’m just blessed to be a part of it as a coach and I’m sure the staff feels the same way.”

On the opposite sidelines, Magnolia was snakebit once again and suffered its fourth loss – by a combined total of 13 points.

“I don’t know, I can’t describe it,” Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. “We fought our tails off and that’s how we are rewarded. I don’t understand it.

“We played well, but hats off to St. Marys. They are a great football team and they did a great job, and they made the play when they had to make it.”

The Blue Eagles (4-4) appeared to have the upset in hand after Drew Keller scored on an 18-yard run with 1:10 showing on the clock. St. Marys defender Jason Allen sacked Magnolia quarterback Jacob Brill on the two-point conversion to leave the Blue Devils trailing 9-8.

St. Marys kept its hopes alive after David Gray returned the ensuing kickoff 20 yards to midfield. On the very next play from scrimmage, the lefty-throwing Michael Stout at quarterback connected with Gray who had made his way downfield for a 37-yard completion.

“David is a special player and he would be the first to give all the credit to the other players,” Mote said. “That’s the type of kid he is. He would be the first to say this was a team win.”

Two running plays resulted in 3 yards. On third down, Gray attempted a halfback pass down the middle which nearly was intercepted by Keller.

The incomplete pass left St. Marys facing fourth-and-7 from the Magnolia 10. Mote called his final timeout and when the sideline huddle broke, Furr jogged out onto the field with his teammates. The kick split the uprights.

The final dagger for Magnolia took place on the kickoff as Allen recovered a fumble. Stout took a knee at the Magnolia 10 and the clock hit zero to preserve St. Marys’ perfect season.

Gray led all ballcarriers with 130 yards rushing on 19 carries. The senior’s 39-yard run late in the first half set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Pratt on the next play and put St. Marys in front 8-3 with 2:46 left before intermission.

“We knew this would be our toughest game, and even when we got down we knew we had to play as a team to come back,” Gray said.

For Magnolia, Keller rushed 28 times for 118 yards. Oscar Celedon’s 22-yard field goal opened the scoring at the 5:35 mark of the second quarter.

The total yardage was close as it gets. Magnolia finished with 219 yards compared to 218 for St. Marys.