With the family of Coach Chester Roy in attendance, and members of the Mustangs many undefeated teams looking on, Overton honored their former coach with an impressive 40-29 win over Class 2A rival Sabine.
Mustangs head coach/athletic director Arthur “Bo” Talkington admitted that the occasion made a difference to both him and his team during this game.
“I’ve never asked a team to win for me,” he said. “But I did ask them to play this game for Coach Roy, a man many of them have probably heard stories about their whole lives […] I think they did him proud.”
Overton’s senior signal-caller Austin McCasland topped last week’s impressive performance against Cushing with another near-perfect game, passing 6-for-7 for 131 yards with 63 rushing yards on 6 carries.
McCasland passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more.
Senior halfback/safety Timothy Hawkins paced the Mustang rushing attack with 99 yards on 10 carries, but more importantly was the way Hawkins got the yardage. Hawkins roused his teammates with repeated gains on the ground, lowering his head and picking up yardage on seven-straight rushes.
“Coming back from the half, I knew we had to step it up on defense and make our possessions count on offense,” he said. “I just wanted to be a leader and show I was going to do whatever it took for us to come away with the win.”
But it was sensational sophomore fullback Jamal Kelly who hit the century mark for the third time this season, rushing for 118 yards on 17 carries, not including a 71-yard run that was called back due to penalty.
Overton’s defense would have made Coach Roy proud, putting the Mustang’s first points on the board in the form of a 67-yard fumble return by senior wideout/cornerback Derek Graham. The Mustangs took the lead 8-7 on a perfect spiral from junior quarterback K.J. Luster to sophomore wideout Damion Dennis.
McCasland put the Mustang’s next score on the board with 4:09 remaining in the second quarter on an 8-yard run. However, Sabine marched right back down the field, this time scoring 7-yard run with 2:42 remaining.
Overton wasted no time firing back. With less than a minute off the clock, McCasland faked the handoff and found a wide-open Graham who outran the entire Cardinal secondary for a 51-yard touchdown.
“I had a step on [the defender] and he never got close,” Graham said. “A.J. had time to pass and he put the ball right where it needed to be.”
However, Sabine again found success quickly, this time the score coming on an offensive fumble recovery in the end zone to tie the game 22-22 at the half.
The defense rose to the occasion in the second half, holding the Cardinals to only 89 total yards after giving up 273 in the first half.
McCasland again found success in the third quarter through the air, finding junior fullback Jesse Roach on a 7-yard TD pass to cap the long opening drive set up by Hawkins hard-nosed rushing to take a 28-22 after the failed PAT.
While defensive standouts Roach, Hawkins, John Blaylock and Greg Moore shined in slowing the Sabine defense down, the offense continued firing on all cylinders.
Down late, with time running out, McCasland found senior tight end Spencer Wright for a 35-yard touchdown.
“They had not been covering us deep all night, but on that play the safety actually did what he was supposed to do,” Wright said. “Football is a game of inches and, when he jumped for it, he was just a split-second too early […] so when I made the catch I knew I had to make it count and take it in for the score.”
Sabine had one last chance to even the score, driving to mid-field with under 2:00 left in the game but Blaylock rocked Cardinal halfback Quaylen Chumley, forcing a fumble that was scooped up by defensive lineman Kenneth Williams.
A final touchdown run by McCasland iced the game for the Mustangs, who will enter District 9-1A competition with a 3-2 record, matching their best win total for the last five years.
“It’s amazing,” Wright said, commenting on Overton’s improvement since last year. “We’re 3-2, with a two-game winning streak going in to district and have a week off to get ready for James Bowie.”