The matchup of region 6A-A rivals came down to the wire and ended with MZ (3-3, 2-1 Region 6A-A) defeating the Bulldogs (4-2, 0-2) by a score of 14-13 in overtime, stopping Trion on a two-point conversion try in the OT session for the dramatic win.
The Eagles started off the action with a decisive drive across the field. Halfback T.K. Tuggle broke through the Bulldog defense for a 40-yard gain, helping the Eagles set up for a short touchdown run by Nate Bernhardt.
Mount Zion’s defense was able to hold off the powerful Trion offense numerous times throughout the first half. The Trion offense was led by senior quarterback Cory Bethune, who poses a viable threat on the ground and through the air.
Both teams engaged in a defensive standoff, battling for field position for much of the remainder of the first half. MZ looked to be gaining momentum after a 35-yard run by Bernhardt, which put the Eagles near the red zone. The drive was stopped short after a pass from quarterback Tristen Puckett was intercepted with little more than a minute remaining before halftime.
Trion finally managed to navigate their way through the determined Eagle defense for their first score of the night late in the fourth.
The Eagles would not be held back, as they took the ensuing kickoff and marched deep into Trion territory. With just seconds left in the game, MZ kicker Garrett Frazier narrowly missed what would have been a game-winning field goal, sending the contest into overtime.
The Eagles took the first overtime possession in for a touchdown, as Bernhardt rushed into the end zone from 13 yards out. Trion tacked on a touchdown of its own, but the crowd erupted in celebration as the Bulldogs were stopped just inches from the goal line on a two-point conversion attempt.
“This is the biggest win we’ve had around here in a long time,” MZ coach Keith Holloway said. “I’m just so proud of these kids and the coaching staff and the community who got behind us.”
The Eagles offense was led by Tuggle, who had 116 yards on 16 carries, and Bernhardt, who added 83 yards on 13 carries.
The win gives Mt. Zion multiple region wins for the first time since 2005, as the Eagles travel to face Cross Keys next Friday night in a break from region action.