Opp secures playoff spot with thrilling triple-overtime win over Ashford, 50-48

Published 11:21 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

The Opp Bobcats showed some grit and resiliency in a must-win season finale, taking down Ashford in triple overtime, 50-48.

The Bobcats (4-6, 4-4) needed both a win and some help from Houston Academy and they got both as the Cougars took down Pike County, giving Opp the fourth playoff seed in Region 2.

Ashford held multiple leads over Opp, including a 6-0 edge at the half. Opp’s offense outgained Ashford in the first half and had better scoring opportunities; however, one of those deep drives ended with an interception that was returned for the only score of the first half.

In the second half the offenses got going. Opp took its first possession and tied the game on a run by Nelson Hall. The game remained tied at 6 after a failed 2-point conversion.

Ashford struck fast to retake the lead, scoring on a 52-yard catch to lift the Yellowjackets to a 12-6 lead.

Zeb Green took the kickoff and set the Bobcats up at the 47-yard line. From there, Jaymaryon Allen got the call on multiple rushing plays, ultimately getting the Bobcats to the 9-yard line. Hall took care of it from there, taking it in for the score to tie the game at 12-12.

Once again, Ashford struck back quickly, bringing a short kickoff all the way back to retake the lead. This time, the 2-pointer was good to make the score 20-12.

Opp’s next possession ended on a turnover.

In the fourth quarter, the Yellowjackets were looking to get some cushion on their lead, but Cash Harrell answered the Bobcats’ prayers coming up with an interception on a pass into the end zone.

Starting at their own 20, the Bobcats relied on a mixture of Allen and Hall. On a fourth down-and-five on the Ashford 42, Hall picked up the needed yardage to keep the drive alive.  A few plays later Allen took it in from 8-yards out. The 2-point conversion was good, tying the game at 20-20 with just under 5 minutes to go.

Ashford showed they weren’t ready to quit either. After taking control near midfield, they hit consecutive pass plays, the first for 27 yards and the next one for 22 for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion once again put Ashford on top, 28-20 with only 3:20 to go.

An onside kick attempt worked in Opp’s favor, giving them possession at midfield. Allen picked up 34 yards on three consecutive runs and on the fourth taking it in from 16 yards out. Hall took in the 2-point play to tie game.

Opp held Ashford on downs, taking the game into overtime.

Placing the ball at the 10-yard line, Ashford overcame a holding call, connecting for a 20-yard touchdown. The 2-point play gave them a 36-28 edge.

Opp sent the game into a second overtime when Hall followed some strong blocks into the end zone and then followed up with a successful 2-point run.

Opp took two plays to put the ball into the end zone in the second overtime, but came up short on the 2-pointer, making the score 42-36.

Ashford was almost out, but on a fourth-down play from the 7, connected for a touchdown pass. The Yellowjackets failed to put the game away with an incompletion on the 2-point conversion.

Taking the ball first in the third overtime, Ashford quickly struck to go up 48-42, but Zevon Barnes knocked away the 2-point conversion pass.

On Opp’s possession, Hall took the first snap for nine yards and the completed the drive on the next play.  The Bobcats claimed victory when Allen punched in the 2-pointer, lifting Opp to a 50-48 victory.

The overtime win is the Bobcat’s first since 2008.

Allen ran the ball 36 times for the Bobcats for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Hall carried it 31 times for 219 yards and five touchdowns. 

On defense, Landon Langley led the way with eight tackles and two sacks while Javon Stoudemire added eight tackles and one sack. Harrell had a key interception while he and Hank Messer each finished with seven tackles.

With the win, the Bobcats extend their season and will travel to St. James  (8-2) for the first round of the playoffs.