LibertyCountyedges PSJ for 4-1A championship

Published: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 03:32 PM.

BRISTOL— Champions win these types of games.

LibertyCountyerased a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and Dustin Watson’s touchdown run and Marco Espinoza’s extra point in overtime lifted the Bulldogs to a stunning 26-25 victory over Port St. Joe.

LibertyCounty’s come-from-behind win was made even sweeter in that the Bulldogs claimed the District 4-1A championship with the victory. The Bulldogs improved to 8-2 overall and 4-0 in the district. Conversely, the loss couldn’t have been more devastating for Port St. Joe, which missed an opportunity to force a three-team playoff to determine the district’s two entrants in the playoffs.

Despite their struggles in the final quarter, the Tiger Sharks (6-3, 2-2) rebounded to score on their first possession of overtime on Troy Williams’ 8-yard scamper to his left. PSJ, which missed two point-after attempts in regulation, suffered a botched snap on the two-point conversion and led just 25-19.

After a PSJ player was flagged for grabbing a player’s face mask on third-and-goal on the ensuing possession, Watson run up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown to even the score. Espinoza, a freshman place-kicker who had missed two extra points earlier, split the uprights with his final attempt and then hurried toward the on-coming mass of teammates headed his direction from the sideline to celebrate.

LibertyCountytrailed 19-0 through three quarters but clawed back into contention with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Watson scored on a 3-yard run on the first play of the final quarter, and he capped the Bulldogs’ next possession with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Ben Beckwith to pull his team within 19-13 with 7:06 remaining in the contest.

PSJ was trying to seal the victory in the game’s waning moments when Williams made an ill-advised pass across the field. Liberty County’s Alex Marlowe stepped in front of the pass and returned the interception 60 yards for a touchdown and a 19-19 tie.

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