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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:52 am 
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From my local paper @

Jacksonville Makes History With 12-Overtime Football Game
Staff Writer

It was bizarre. It was epic. It was nonstop.

It was the longest high school football game in history.

In a wild game that lasted nearly 5 1/2 hours, Jacksonville High School beat Nacogdoches High School 84-81 in 12 overtimes on Friday night at Nacogdoches' Dragon Stadium.

Yes, you read that right. 84-81. In 12 overtimes. And yes, that set the national record.

"I'm just proud of the way our kids fought and fought and fought all night," said winning coach Steve Wells. "You ask a lot of kids when you just go one or two overtimes. To be a part of what I'm understanding is history and being in a 12-overtime game, it's pretty unbelievable."

Rodrigo Carreon drilled a 19-yard field goal to secure the win.

The Indians (7-2, 5-1 District 14-4A) clinched a playoff berth with the win, but could've done so with a loss of fewer than seven points. The Dragons (3-6, 2-4) needed to win Friday -- by at least seven points -- and next week to reach the playoffs.

"It was the most bizarre game I've ever been to because it wasn't about winning the game, it was about point differentials," said Bryan Houston, who called the game for KRWM 97.7-FM, Jacksonville.

Because of the possible three-way, tie-breaker scenario, Nacogdoches often was forced to allow Jacksonville to score. If the Dragons would score first -- the teams alternate possessions starting from the opponent's 25 -- but miss the point after attempt, Nacogdoches would stand aside as Jacksonville made its way to the end zone.

"It was a matador defense," Houston said.

The Dragons would then stop the Indians on the two-point try to force another overtime. After the second overtime, teams are required to go for two.

Wells said he had opportunities to a knee and take a loss of fewer than seven points to ensure a spot in the postseason. Instead, the Indians went for the win.

"(The players) wanted a chance to play next week for a district championship," Wells said, referring to next Friday's game against John Tyler at 7:30 p.m. from the Tomato Bowl. "Nobody wants to lose a football game. I'm just proud of our kids for the way they persevered.

"That's almost inhuman to play that long."

The game ended at 12:51 a.m., 5 hours and 21 minutes after the scheduled kickoff time on a brisk October evening. Most of the crowd stuck around for the entirety of the game, many of which stood for a majority of the overtime periods, Houston said.

As the game wore on -- and fatigue mounted -- the event turned comical to some.

"You just get to the point where you're just laughing about it," Houston said. "It was the most bizarre thing I've ever been involved in.

"It was great to be a part of and it was something I'll never forget. But at the same time it was just so bizarre. We couldn't help but laugh about it."

Jacksonville amassed 669 yards of total offense on the night (and morning), including 333 through the air. Nacogdoches' Damion Johnson rushed for 264 yards and three touchdowns.

The Indians led 28-14 at halftime but the Dragons battled back to tie it up. Wells said he thought his team had a chance to win it in regulation with a last-minute field goal, but a pass interference flag was waved off.

"It was obviously pass interference on the film; in my opinion it never should've went to overtime," Wells said. "We're not going to blame it on anybody. (The refs) called a good ball game on both sides."

As the game wore on, both sides had ample opportunities to win the game. When one team would turn the ball over -- Nacogdoches had 11 turnovers -- its defense would step up. If a defense failed, the team's offense came through.

Once, when Jacksonville needed a two-point conversion for the win, the snap was bobbled.

"Weird things would happen," Houston said of times when either side had a chance to win.

And yet both teams battled on, even though the Indians could've taken the easy way out by taking a six-point loss to make the playoffs.

"It was risky, but we were going to take the approach to win the football game and took our chances as far as getting in the playoffs," Wells said. "It could've backfired."

And in the end, Wells and his Jacksonville Indians came out victorious.

"It'll take us a little while to recover, but the positive of all that is that we did come out on top and was able to win the ball game," Wells said. "We know we got Goliath coming in. Our odds of winning that game are slim but we're going to do everything we can."

Regardless of the outcome next week, a game with a dozen overtimes won't soon leave the minds of the thousands who witnessed the unique event.

"It was great to be a part of and it was something I'll never forget," Houston said.

Added Wells: "Maybe it was Halloween."

Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

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