A lot of people thought that the Laurel Golden Tornadoes and the Wayne County War Eagles might not play a football game here Friday night. They did play and many of both teams’ loyal supporters missed a classic. Wayne County’s Nathan Busby calmly kicked his third extra point of the night to give Wayne County a thrilling 21-20 double overtime win in this the 25th meeting between the schools. Wayne County now holds a 13-12 lead in this rivalry.
This week the fans were not talking about the game but rather the social media talk of possible violence at the game. Though the violence never occurred, the damage was done. Wayne County High School officials said there were a little over 700 tickets sold to the game. That compares to over 2,800 tickets sold for the War Eagles’ opener against Quitman on August 26.
Laurel tied the score at 14-14 with no time left in the final period. Quarterback Xavier Evans threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Kanarius Johnson, and then William Mora kicked the conversion sending the game into overtime. Laurel ran an untimed down on the third down play that produced the TD, for the War Eagles were called for illegal substitution on the previous third and eight play. The scoreboard showed one second to play before that snap.
Both teams missed field goals in the first overtime. Wayne missed a 20-yard try and Laurel missed a 25-yarder as the teams switched ends in the second overtime. The Tornadoes scored first on a third and ten when Evans fired a 10-yard pass to a wide-open Bryce Page. Unfortunately for the visitors they missed the kick conversion. Shadamien Williamson scored on a three-yard run on a third down play for WCHS. Busby’s perfect kick sent the War Eagles’ fans home happy.
Wayne County took the lead to start the game by driving 77 yards in eight plays to score on a 16-yard run by Kelnevius Walley with 4:19 to play in the first period. Midway through the second period, Evans led Laurel on a 77-yard march of their own, and he did the honors on an 11-yard run to send the teams to halftime tied at 7-7.
Laurel ran for 223 yards and passed for another 111 yards. Wayne County held the advantage in time of possession by 30 seconds. The Laurel defense held Wayne County’s vaulted running game to 144 yards and allowed only 21 yards through the air.
Wayne County took a 14-7 lead in the third period taking advantage of an 11-yard punt by LHS. Williamson finished off the 36-yard six-play drive with a one-yard run.
Quote of the Night:
Wayne County head coach Shelton Gandy rode the roller coaster of emotion throughout the final period and on into two overtimes. “This is a big win for us. Laurel is such a talented team and they are so athletic. Their defense is not big in size, but they play fast and get off the blocks so well, and their linebackers do a great job.”
Laurel (2-1) will host undefeated Petal while Wayne County (2-1) will travel to undefeated West Jones next Friday night.