TUNNEL HILL -- Coahulla Creek High School junior quarterback Kace Kinnamon dashed in for a 10-yard touchdown run with three seconds left to tie Northwest Whitfield High School Friday, but Logan Fowler's extra point attempt was blocked, sending the game to overtime, and the contest only grew wilder from there before the Colts ultimately outlasted the homestanding Bruins in triple overtime, 31-25.
Senior running back Tyler Locklear raced in for a 15-yard touchdown on the first play of the third overtime, and while Kinnamon's two-point-attempt toss to his favorite target Friday, Justin Baker, was low, the Colts defense held off the Bruins last-ditch attempt to extend the game deeper into the Tunnel Hill night on a fourth-and-11 from the 16. Both teams' student sections spilled from the stands and rimmed the field in overtime, so the Colts contingent celebrated alongside their players and coaches.
Locklear opened the overtime scoring with a 1-yard touchdown carry, but he was stopped on the two-point attempt. Senior running back Adrian Reyes tied the game for Northwest, but Grant Holder's extra point attempt was blocked, as a muddy field from rains earlier in the week made kicking problematic for both sides.
Northwest moved backward in double overtime, failing to score, but a 24-yard field goal attempt to win the game by Sergio Alvarez was blocked. The Bruins, which made the Class 4A playoffs last year before bowing out in the second round, also blocked a kick (an extra point attempt), at the end of regulation to force overtime.
This was the second-consecutive year the Bruins and Colts opened against each other, with the former beating the latter, 27-6, last season in Varnell, but Coahulla Creek served notice right away Friday that they're an improved team in head coach Danny Wilson's second-year, as they took their opening drive 80 yards and went ahead 7-0 on Payton Gordon's short touchdown rush and ensuing extra point. The Bruins answered on their opening possession, with junior quarterback Owen Brooker delivering a birthday present to birthday boy Hudson Gray in the form of a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Fowler's 37-yard field goal gave the Colts a 10-7 lead with 9:39 left in the second quarter, and it appeared the visitors would be able to run out the clock and carry that lead into halftime, but Isaiah Foster picked off Kinnamon with just over a minute remaining and returned the ball to the doorstep. Brooker then bulled over a defender for a 2-yard touchdown run that gave the home team a 13-10 lead heading into the break after the extra point was blocked.
A botched shotgun snap led to a fumble by the Bruins, so the Colts opened their first second-half possession inside Northwest's 10, but the home team's defense stiffened and only allowed a tying field goal. Brooker's second touchdown run, aided by his linemen pushing him across the goal line from four yards out, provided a 19-13 cushion at the end of the third quarter, and the score remained that way until the Colts' final regulation possession. They converted multiple fourth-downs, and a 30-yard connection down the sidelines between Kinnamon and Baker set the stage for the quarterback's game-tying gallop into the end zone.
The Colts (1-0), which finished 2-8 last season, plays another intra-county rival Friday, when they host Southeast Whitfield High School. The Bruins (0-1), which finished last year 8-3, will try to get their first win of the season Friday when they host Gordon Central.