By Joshua Perkins
For The Tribune
PINSON — What a game.
Austin and Pinson Valley traded blows all night, finally coming to end when Antonio Robinson pushed the ball into the end zone in the fourth overtime, giving Austin the win 44-38.
“That’s great high school football,” said Pinson Valley coach Matt Glover.
Pinson Valley started the game with a 70-yard drive capped off by a 24-yard TD pass from Jackie Matthews to Dilan Henderson. Matthews finished 20-of-30 for 256 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Henderson led the Indians with 124 receiving yards on 10 catches.
Austin answered right back with a 71-yard TD pass from Paxton Montgomery to Maleiq Senior to tie the game at 7. Senior caught eight balls for a whopping 162 yards.
Matthews threw the Indians back down the field for another touchdown, this one on a 34-yard pass to Orion Morris. The first quarter ended with Pinson Valley holding a 14-7 lead in what looked to be a shootout. Morris would end the game with 51 yards on three catches.
The potential shootout was stopped as the teams failed to score in the second quarter. Austin was close to pay dirt twice but a blocked field goal and a C.J. Rudolph sack on a fourth-down try brought the game into halftime with Pinson Valley leading 14-7.
The defensive struggle continued after halftime. Pinson Valley needed a goal-line stand to keep Austin from scoring on their first drive, and would feature Khymel Chaverst to move the ball to Austin’s 11. Saul Rios would miss a field goal, however, to keep the game 14-7.
The third quarter would end with a few three-and-outs. Austin would find the end zone by way of a Robinson 11-yard run, tying the game at 14.
Pinson Valley would stall on their next drive and the punt snap would sail over Rios’ head and be recovered in the end zone by Austin to give them their first lead of the game, 21-14.
Pinson Valley would tie it again on Henderson’s second touchdown reception, this one on a beautiful 5-yard fade from Matthews.
Montgomery would give the ball back to Pinson Valley after a fumble at midfield. The Indians would go all the way down to the 20. But the drive would end on a blocked field goal.
Austin’s last-second drive ended when Eric Rogers picked off backup QB Samuel Watkins. The game went to overtime 21-21.
Austin found the end zone on the first possession of overtime with a diving Senior touchdown reception.
Chaverst answered with a 2-yard touchdown to send the game to a second overtime. Chaverst finished with 138 yards on 27 carries.
Matthews juked three defenders for a 15-yard touchdown on third down to put Pinson Valley up, but Austin would tie it again with a catch from William Jaggwe in the back of the end zone.
Pinson Valley would hold Austin to a field goal and took over, needing a touchdown to win the game. Austin’s defense would hold and Rios would deliver to send the game to a fourth overtime.
Matthews tried to throw the ball away but Ty’rese Swoopes-Harris made a miraculous one-handed interception to give Austin the ball, needing any points to win the game.
Robinson answered the call and got all 10 yards on the drive to end the game.
Pinson Valley (8-4) can look on the brighter side of things though, only having eight seniors on this team.
“I’m so proud of them,” said Glover of his seniors. “They’re all going to be successful and I wish the best for all of them.”
The third round of he playoffs will have to wait for Pinson Valley, but with most role players returning don’t be shocked if the Indians can accomplish that feat for the first time ever next season.