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Eagles lose 4th quarter lead

Samson’s Daniel Sutley intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Tigers came from behind to beat Pleasant Home 21-14 Friday night at Pleasant Home School.

Pleasant Home (0-1) held a 14-7 lead after three quarters of play, but the Eagles couldn’t hold on and were hurt by some tough breaks.

Samson (1-0) moved within one point of the Eagles when Brandon Carter scored on a 36-yard touchdown run with 10:11 left to play. On the ensuing extra point, the Tigers were called for a penalty and forced to kick from their own 15.

Samson kicker Tyler Rushing picked up a bad snap and threw a pass into the end zone, where it deflected off one Tiger before it was caught by Cory Dean, giving Samson a 15-14 lead.

Trailing 21-14 later in the quarter, the Eagles seemingly took advantage of a deflection of their own. With 7:24 left in the game, Pleasant Home’s Ethan King passed to Josh Godwin, but the ball deflected off his hands to Tyler Barbaree. Barbaree initially caught the ball on the Samson 45 and appeared to advance all the way to the 1, but he was called down on the 45 after a referee’s inadvertent whistle.

“Everyone makes mistakes, but that’s a tough way to have a great play called dead,” Pleasant Home coach Robert Bradford said. “But we’re not making any excuses. We had a chance to put Samson away, and we didn’t.”

After Barbaree’s catch gave the Eagles a first down, the drive ended four plays later on a lost fumble.

The Eagles fell behind quickly in the game, as Samson’s first offensive play was a 52-yard reception by Dean that moved the Tigers down to the Pleasant Home 2. Adrian Austin scored on the next play and Samson led 7-0 just 49 seconds into the game.

Pleasant Home’s Josh Godwin hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass with 4:01 left in the second quarter, but the Eagles missed the extra point and trailed 7-6 heading into halftime.

Pleasant Home came out on fire to start the second half, putting together an eight-play, 49-yard drive that ended when Frank Senn scored from 4 yards out. King ran for the two-point conversion and the Eagles took their first lead, 14-7, with 7:36 left in the third quarter.

“We came out great in the third quarter and drove all the way down the field, but then we let up on the gas,” Bradford said. “When you let a team hang around, that’s what happens.”

Samson coach Brent Johnson’s team lost to Pleasant Home last year, 21-20, and he was proud of his Tigers’ effort on the road.

“We made too many mistakes on defense in the first half and we played a lot better in the second half,” he said. “We knew that (Ethan) King was a good quarterback and he’d try to throw on us. In the past, we’d have laid down after getting behind, but tonight we kept at it.”

Senn led the Eagles in rushing with 23 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown. King had 10 carries for 52 yards, C.J. Langley had four carries for 23 yards and Tyler Barbaree had four carries for 17 yards.

King was 10-for-17 for 81 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Cory Sims led the team with 52 receiving yards on two catches, and Godwin added four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown.

PHS will travel to Ariton on Friday night in its Class 1A, Region 2, opener.