Jumping as high as he could, Alexandria defensive back Zach Carrizales intercepted Munford quarterback Monteo Garrett’s pass in the corner of the end zone to give the Valley Cubs a chance to snag a region-overtime win on the road.
“Carrizales made a great play in overtime,” said Alexandria coach Frank Tucker. “He’s the smallest guy we’ve got, but maybe the biggest heart. He made a great play, then we had the momentum and all we needed was a field goal to win.”
After two runs by tailback Justice Owens got the ball to the one, Alton Davis’ number was called to end the game on third and one. He did his job and Alexandria won 41-35.
“It was one of the biggest moments of my sports career,” Davis said after the game while still trying to catch his breath. “It was amazing. Coaches told me what to do and I followed behind the blocks and everything.”
The game was a tale of two halves.
Justice Owens was everywhere he needed to be to be a playmaker in the first half. The senior rushed for 33 yards and a touchdown, but also recorded two catches for 64 yards and two scores. The defense also held Munford to 60 yards.
“I’ve really been disappointed in the offense the last two weeks, but they came back with the passion tonight and I was very proud of them,” Tucker said.
With Alexandria (3-3) having a commanding 28-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Munford’s offense came to life.
“I’m really disappointed that we didn’t start out any better than we did,” said Munford coach Will Wagnon. “We put ourselves in big hole, so we could only expect to do so much.”
The Lions (3-3) slowly gained the game’s momentum after the first play of the fourth quarter saw Garrett hit tailback Tweety Richardson for a 31-yard score. After Alexandria turned the ball over on downs around midfield, Garrett struck again. This time the pass was to C.J. Chapman, who took it in from 55 yards out.
That’s when the fourth-quarter shootout began.
Justice Owens recorded his fourth touchdown of the game on the second play of the ensuing drive with a 65-yard run, giving Alexandria a 35-21 lead.
“I can’t say enough about Justice,” Tucker said. “You’d have to write a whole section about him. He’s a great player and he had some great blockers.”
However, the Valley Cubs’ defense could not stop Garrett.
On third and 14, the junior’s pass to Dustin Haynes made it a one-score game after the tight end took it 55 yards to the end zone.
“We made some plays at the end throwing long passes, but if you depend on that you’re not going to win a lot of ballgames,” Wagnon said.
After Alexandria went three on out on its next possession, Garrett did it again. This time, however, he used his legs instead of his arm.
After two immediate first downs, Munford found itself needing eight yards on third down. Garrett, however, had other plans. Taking the snap on the 31-yard line, he ran it for the game-tying touchdown.
As it appeared the game would go to overtime without much of an offensive attack by Alexandria with less than a minute left, quarterback Tanner Wells found Owens for a 35-yard gain, giving the Valley Cubs life.
With the ball on the 20-yard line and four seconds left, Gabe Marchel lined up for the game-winning kick. However, things didn’t go to script for Alexandria.
The Valley Cubs were called for an illegal procedure, one of their 10 penalties on the night, backing the ball up to the 24. Wells’ pass into the end zone was intercepted by Chapman, sending the game to overtime.
“I’m proud that we never quit, but they’re not quitters,” Wagnon said. “I know they’re not quitters, but instead of being not quitters, we need to start being winners.”
Tucker said the game was a testament to the hard work of both teams.
“We’ve lost two in a row, close games, so this is a big boost to our confidence,” Tucker said.
Owens carried the Valley Cubs offensively, racking up 240 total yards —141 yards on 29 rushes and 99 yards on three receptions — while recording two touchdowns on the ground and in the air.
Davis had 50 yards on the ground adding a score on 15 rushes and two catches for 28 yards. Wells completed six of 10 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.