Trailing by 14 points to the West Mecklenburg Hawks with five minutes left, it appeared the Vance Cougars were on the verge of being upset in the football season opener.
But the Cougars, No. 13 in the Observer Sweet 16, scored two touchdowns in the final minutes to force overtime. And after Kingsley Ifedi’s sixth touchdown pass put Vance ahead in the extra session, the Cougars recovered a West Meck fumble to preserve a 41-34 road victory.
When West Mecklenburg quarterback Richard Latimer hit Tyler Barnes on a 64-yard scoring pass early in the fourth, the Hawks led 34-20 .
Ifedi cut the deficit to 34-27 on a touchdown pass to Jeremiah Hall with 2 minutes, 1 second left. With all three timeouts left, Vance kicked deep to West Mecklenburg.
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Rather than run the ball, Latimer went to the air and was intercepted with 1:46 left. Ifedi, who threw for 343 yards and ran for 152, found Hall on a 5-yard score with 33 seconds left to send it to overtime .
Quote: “I didn’t make a tackle, throw a pass or run a play,” Vance coach Aaron Brand said. “Give the kids all the credit because West Meck had us down and played great, but this group has been here before and made some big plays.”
Records: Vance is 1-0 and West Meck is 0-1
Worth mentioning: What makes Ifedi so tough to defend is that not only is he a run-pass threat, but he spreads it around. He threw completions to five receivers in the first quarter (six for the game) and had three receivers catch at least six passes. ... If it weren’t for Ifedi, the talk would have been about Latimer’s stellar play. The senior threw for 257 yards, four touchdowns and rushed for 62 yards with one score.
What’s next: West Meck is at West Charlotte. Vance will play host to Providence
Vance;7; 13; 0; 14; 7;-;41
West Meck; 8; 8; 12; 6; 0;-; 34
V- Michael Roberts 14 pass from Kingsley Ifedi (James Palacios kick)
WM- Khafre Brown 13 pass from Richard Latimer (Dyami Brown pass from Latimer)
V- Jalen Car 3 pass from Ifedi (Palacios kick)
WM- Tyler Barnes 19 pass from Latimer (Dyami Brown pass from Latimer)
V- Car 40 pass from Ifedi (pass failed)
WM- Latimer 1 run (pass failed)
WM- Barnes 20 pass from Latimer (pass failed)
WM- Barnes 64 pass from Latimer (run failed)
V- Jeremiah Hall 34 pass from Ifedi (Palacios kick)
V- Hall 5 pass from Ifedi (Palacios kick)
V- Car 11 pass from Ifedi (Palacios kick)