Marquill Osborne had one more big play to give.
The Hough High senior tackled Vance running back Donnavan Spencer short of the goal line on a two-point try in overtime to give the Huskies a 28-27 win Thursday and their first MECKA 4A championship. Osborne’s stop was the finale in a stirring effort in which he scored touchdowns receiving (66 yards), on a kick return (94 yards) and blocked a field goal attempt.
“The tackle was definitely the biggest play,” he said. “The biggest play is the one you win.”
Osborne came out on top by tracking Spencer to the outside on the two-point attempt and driving him away from the goal line after snaring Kingsley Ifedi’s pass.
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“When I saw the running back hesitating, I knew he was going out to the flats,” Osborne said. “I wasn’t sure if my guy was going to get out there, so I midpointed both of them, came for the ball and made the hit. End of the ball game.”
Osborne’s block of a Vance field goal late in the fourth quarter set Hough (10-1) up for Jarrett Nagy’s 1-yard run to tie the game at 21 with 24 seconds left. Nagy’s 3-yard run in overtime put the Huskies ahead and Osborne, who scored on a 66-yard pass from Jackson Gibbs in the third, shut the door with his goal-line stop.
“Osborne made the play?” Cougars coach Aaron Brand asked. “He’s the best defensive player in the conference. He’s the best defensive player I’ve seen all year.”
Ifedi accounted for Vance’s early advantage with a 27-yard pass to Morgan Gibson on fourth down and a 29-yard scamper for a 14-0 lead 10:21 before halftime. His 13-yard dart to Myles Dorn pulled the Cougars to within a point on their first overtime possession.
Quote: “We had a little bit of momentum. I thought we played better than they did tonight. Neither team played great but I thought we had a slight advantage. I wanted to go with what the momentum told me to go with. The momentum said go for two.” – Vance coach Aaron Brand.
Records: Vance is 6-5, 2-4 in MECKA 4A; Hough is 10-1, 6-0 in MECKA 4A.
Worth Mentioning: Hough gained 171 of its 174 yards after halftime.
What’s next: Hough advances to the N.C. 4AA playoffs. Vance awaits seeding process.
V-Morgan Gibson 27 pass from Kingsley Ifedi (Osmin Alvarenga kick)
V-Ifedi 29 run (Alvarenga kick)
H-Marquill Osborne 94 kick return (Zach Stearns kick)
V-Jeremiah Hall 3 run (Alvarenga kick)
H-Jarrett Nagy 1 run (Stearns kick)
H-Jarrett Nagy 3 run (Stearns kick)
V-Myles Dorn 13 pass from Ifedi (pass failed)