Late touchdown gives Lions win over Cleburne County
by Jim Smothers
High school football fans got all the drama they could hope for at Munford Stadium Friday night as the host team Lions mounted a last-minute drive to win a deadlocked game with the Cleburne County Tigers 27-20.

Munford quarterback Monteo Garrett was lifted onto the shoulders of teammates for a hero’s ride off the field in celebration of the team’s victory.

With 67 ticks left in the game Munford drove 53 yards to score. Garrett’s pass to Dustin Haynes gave Munford momentum, and with :08.6 left, Garrett ran down the left sideline with a dive down to the 2 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Garrett called another passing play, but saw another opening on the left sideline and ran it across the corner to score with :02.8 left in the game. Those seconds ran out on the ensuing kickoff return.

“Right from the start of the count, I thought I would run it in,” Garrett said. “I just give thanks to God and this wonderful coach right here. It was a dream come true.”

Munford Coach Will Wagnon said the play that was called was a slant route.

“He saw a seam and took it,” Wagnon said. “That shows his maturity as a quarterback.”

Cleburne County scored all three Tiger touchdowns in the first half and led 20-14 at the break.

Trey Bolton broke loose on a 38-yard run for the game’s first touchdown midway through the first quarter. Tito Roblero kicked the PAT from Jeremiah McLeroy’s hold to make it 7-0.

Munford didn’t stay down for long. Tweety Richardson reversed field on the second play after the ensuing kickoff and bolted 65 yards to score for the Lions. Brian Strickland kicked the point-after from Tavon Lawson’s hold to tie the game at 7-7.

Cleburne then drove 76 yards to score again. Blake Turner went in from the 1-yard line on the first play of the second quarter, and the PAT was good, for a 14-7 lead.

That was Munford’s cue to score again, mounting a 71 yard drive sparked by passes to Austin Campbell for 18 yards and Tweety Richardson for 11, but it was Garrett that really shook things up with a 38-yard run for a first-and-goal at the 2. Richardson carried it in, and with the PAT the game was tied again at 14-14.

But the Tigers came right back with a 12-play drive to take a 20-14 halftime lead. Brady Padgett passed to Alan Taylor waiting in the end zone for the score.

The Tigers had 201 yards rushing and 26 passing in the first half, while Munford had 140 rushing and 29 passing. The second half was more of a defensive struggle, with Cleburne County only getting 45 yards rushing, with no passes completed. Munford had 60 yards rushing and 59 passing in the second half.

Wagnon said, “This was a great ball game. Both sides played extremely well, and nobody deserved to lose. Coach (Michael) Shortt is one of the best coaches in this part of the state, and we were just lucky enough to be on top at the end.”

Cleburne’s Bolton was game-high for the night with 182 rushing yards.

Munford quarterback Garrett had 120 rushing yards, scored one touchdown and passed for another.

Munford travels to Jacksonville High School next week for another 4A Region 5 game while Cleburne County hosts Cherokee County.

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© 2012