Blue Devil coach Brandon Wiley believed his team’s experience in overtime earlier this season prepared them to pull out a win Friday night.
“After our overtime game earlier in the year, we took that experience and applied it tonight. I would have much rather not had that experience play out again, but our kids have been there,” Wiley said.
Aggie coach Matt Griffith said mistakes cost his team several times during the game.
“When you get the ball inside the 30 four different times and you don’t come away with any points, you’re not going to win,” Griffith said. “We got into overtime. We were really lucky to do that, but we just lost it there at the end.”
One of those opportunities deep in Blue Devil territory came on the first Aggie possession. A 35-yard scramble by quarterback Kelsey Pope got the Aggies to the Moody 15, but Sylacauga came up empty when Sam Hamilton missed a 32-yard field goal.
Moody took advantage of its first possession by driving 80 yards on 15 plays and capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak by Josh Owen on the first play of the second quarter.
Sylacauga finally got on the board after recovering a pop-up onsides kick that a Moody player mistakenly did not try to catch and driving 35-yards on three Josh Crowe runs and an 11-yard Pope option keeper for a touchdown only 36 seconds into the third quarter.
Moody would answer right back, though, taking the ball on its own 29 and marching down the field to eventually score on a 5-yard slant pass from Owen to Corey Payne.
Sylacauga tied the game in the fourth quarter on a drive that featured a 39-yard run by Crowe followed by a 5-yard touchdown by sophomore Bruce Hartley.
Neither offense got close to scoring as the fourth quarter wound to an end.
Wiley got some assistance from an unusual source before the beginning of overtime.
“We win the toss. My wife picks the heads or tails. I let her pick it. We win the toss and held them to a field goal. We felt like we had the momentum. You always do when you go on defense first and hold them to three or none.”
Sylacauga scored on a 29-yard field goal by Hamilton on its overtime possession. It appeared the Aggies had scored a touchdown two plays earlier, but a block in the back called back Pope’s touchdown run.
On Moody’s second offensive play Owen dropped back to pass, but found a running lane. He collided with a Sylacauga defender at the 1, but managed to twist his way into the end zone for the 20-17 win.
Griffith believed his team would overcome this difficult loss and be ready for rival B.B. Comer next week. “You’ve got to play for pride. You play for pride in the city when you play Comer. If they can’t get up for Comer, they ought to not play football.”
Sylacauga was led in rushing by Crowe who had 152 yards on 21 carries and Pope who had 128 yards on 17 carries. Moody was led by running back Corey Vandergrift who had 102 yards on 17 carries and Owen who had 87 yards rushing on 21 carries
Owen was 7 of 12 passing for 49 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. Pope completed only three of 14 pass attempts for 42 yards.
Moody lineman and Auburn University commitment Chad Slade received a leg injury in the overtime period, and his status for the Blue Devils’ regular season finale at Leeds is unclear.