With their backs literally in the end zone, the Chain Gang defense bowed up and stopped a Kirbyville Wildcat two-point conversion to snag a 21-20 victory in overtime at Dan R. Hooks stadium Friday night.

Led by sophomores DeCarlos Renfro and Justin Thomas and senior DaJewel Nelson, the defense held strong, stopping Kirbyville’s talented JaMichael Ervine about a yard short of the goal line.

“It wasn’t just us,” Thomas said. “It was a team effort. Everyone was in on it.”

The Mustangs were plagued all night on offense with penalties and missed opportunities, especially in the first half where they only gained 34 total yards. However, at the half, they led 7-0 with the score coming from senior Trey Franks who took the snap and charged the end zone from 16 yards out in the first quarter.

The next Mustang score didn’t come until the fourth quarter when quarterback Reggie Garrett hit receiver Mark Roberts in the end zone on a fourth and eight from 35-yards out. Roberts out-jumped two Wildcat defenders to snag the ball and tie the game at 14-14.

After a failed WO-S field goal attempt with less than two minutes in the game, Kirbyville took their time, knowing that the overtime was inevitable and feeling confident with the way they had moved the ball throughout the game would help give them the win.

However, the Mustangs seemed to come alive and scored quickly in overtime when sophomore Britton Lindsey bullied his way to the four yard line and then carried it in around right side on the next play. A good Justin Sparrow PAT made it 21-14, with Kirbyville taking their turn on the 25.

It didn’t take the Wildcats long to strike either as Wildcat quarterback Caleb Cucancic took the snap and bolted from 12 yards out to bring the score to 21-20. The next play, though, will be talked about for years to come as the Wildcats decided to go for the win instead of the tie and another overtime and were stopped a yard out from the goal line.

“What a game! Give Kirbyville credit, though, they came to play and they played hard,” Head Coach Dan Hooks said. “They had a chance to win it and our defense stepped up and stuffed him before he could get across the line.”

The defense, led by Nelson and senior Stephen Cook, had their hands full as Kirbyville kept the ball on the ground for most of the night, with only 11 of their 227 yards coming through the air. The Mustangs rushed for 126 and Garrett passed for 80 yards.

Next up for the Mustangs are the Jasper Bulldogs in Jasper on Friday night at 7:30 pm.

“We’ve had some really good games against Jasper up at the “ Alamo ,” Hooks said. “They are on a roll after beating Kirbyville in the second half. We’ll have to be ready to play.”

Jasper came from behind last week and beat Kirbyville, 31-22 after being down at the half, 22-12. This past week was the Bulldogs open week.

“They’re physical and tackle to the inside,” Hooks said. “We’ll just have to prepare and go up there and play hard.”

The sub varsity and the middle school teams beat Kirbyville this past Thursday. The JV won, 30-8, with scores from Louvanstie Mouton, Ernest Williams, Shaquille Jackson and Abear Simien. Quarterback Jimmy Salter also threw a TD pass. Defensive standouts were Julius Knolley, Matthew Lackey, Daniel Woodson, Dre Hypolite and Jarius Levette.

The ninth grade won, 49-8. Scoring for the freshmen were Alex Sezar, Ar’Tevin McDonald, Colin Janice and Kaleb Franklin. Quarterback Tremaine Anderson also threw a TD pass, while Jerquis Beasley kicked three PATs.

The middle school teams, coached by Micheal Shugart, Jimmy Hallman, Robert Collins and Jesse Riojas, won, with eighth grade winning 20-0 and 7th grade, 34-0.

Tickets for the varsity game at Jasper will be on sale in the Athletic Office Wednesday – 1-3pm, Thursday – 9-12 & 1-3pm and Friday – 9-12. Ticket prices are $5 for Adults and $3 for students. All tickets at the gate are $5.