The Garinger Wildcats proved that just because a team is winless doesn’t mean they give up.
Trailing 14-0 at halftime at East Meck, Garinger shut down the Eagles in the second half and scored the game-winner in the final minutes to take an 18-14 victory.
The first half was all East Meck, who opened the scoring in the final seconds of the first quarter when quarterback Trey Truitt took a bad snap from center, scrambled and found DJ Austin for a 36-yard scoring strike.
Truitt would push the lead to 14-0 midway through the second quarter on a 25-yard scramble for a score. Garinger closed the gap on their opening possession of the second half, going 83 yards in nine plays and helped by three East Meck personal foul penalties.
Elias Bethea scored on an eight yard run with 3:18 left and Garinger trailed 14-6.
Midway through the fourth, Garinger grew closer when Jah Overby stepped in front of a Truitt pitch and went 59 yards for a touchdown to close to 14-12.
Garinger went for two, but two penalties pushed the Wildcats back and Bethea was sacked on the two-point attempt.
Garinger coach Jeff Caldwell then went into his bag of tricks for the eventual game-winner.
Bethea took the shotgun snap and threw back to receiver Chris Bailey who then threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Xae Staten with 2:27 left.
East Meck had a chance on their final drive as they drove to the Garinger 13 yard line in the final minute, but Truitt threw incomplete on his last three passes and Garinger held on for the upset win.
“We just kept playing,” Caldwell said. “The kids knew they had to play twice as hard in the second half to come back and they just stuck together. We’re going to enjoy this one.”
Records: Garinger improves to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in the Southwestern 4A conference. East Meck drops to 1-6 and 0-3.
Three Who Mattered
Jah Overby (Garinger)- helped lead the Garinger defense in their second half shutdown, and scored the momentum-changing touchdown when he intercepted a pitch and went 59 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.
Trey Truitt (East Meck)- Had 135 total yards (75 pass, 60 rush), throwing for a touchdown and rushing for the other. Truitt also kicked both extra points for East Meck
Defenses- The two teams combined for 322 total yards, and take away three big play touchdowns (two by East Meck and Garinger’s game-winner) the offenses combined for just 210 yards.
Garinger will host Porter Ridge while East Meck will be at Rocky River, both Friday night.
▪ Garinger’s win broke a nine-game losing streak on the field, as their last four-quarter victory was also over East Meck, 31-14. Garinger was awarded a win via Rocky River forfeit to end the 2018 season.
▪ To say penalties were a factor would be an understatement. East Meck was penalized 11 times for 94 yards including five personal fouls in the third quarter alone. Garinger was flagged 15 times for 103 yards, four of those coming after their last two touchdowns for delay of game and false starts while trying for two-point conversions.
▪ It really was a tale of two halves. The first half was dominated by East Meck, who held Garinger to 33 total yards and one first down. In the second half it was Garinger’s defense who dominated, allowing East just 53 total yards.
Garinger 0 0 6 12 18
East Meck 7 7 0 0 14
EM- DJ Austin 36 pass from Trey Truitt (Trey Truitt kick)
EM- Truitt 25 run (Truitt kickThird Quarter
G- Elias Bethea 8 run (kick failed)
G- Jah Overby 59 fumble return (run failed)
G- Xae Staten 51 pass from Chris Bailey (pass failed)