GILBERT — The way the Gilbert and Lenore middle school football teams were going on Wednesday night it was looking like the game would go right down to the wire.
It went down to the final play in fact as Gilbert Middle School came away with a 20-19 victory over Mingo County rival Lenore in the season opener for both teams at the Gilbert football field.
Gilbert (1-0) won the game on the last play as Anthony Hendricks scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 3.3 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
The officials ruled, however, that there was no time left as there apparently had been some clock issues.
The winning drive by the Lions was kept alive as quarterback Preston Dingess converted a fourth-and-two play, passing to wide receiver Ethan Mendoza for a 31-yard completion down the sideline to the Lenore 9-yard line with less than 30 seconds left.
Hendricks ran for 6 yards on first-and-goal and then crashed into the end zone on the next play for the game-winning touchdown.
Lenore (0-1) had went ahead in the see-saw battle 19-14 with 6:08 left in the fourth quarter as Rangers’ QB Joby Sorrell tossed a 57-yard touchdown pass to Caleb May. The Rangers’ went for the PAT but the kick was no good.
May scored all three touchdowns for Lenore during the game.
Gilbert got the ball back but the Lions fumbled it away on its own 43-yard line and Lenore’s Easton Davis recovered.
The Rangers could not move the ball however, and ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Gilbert 41-yard line.
Gilbert then went into its two-minute drill and orchestrated the winning drive.
Early in the game, the Rangers went ahead 7-0 at the 1:38 mark of the first quarter as Sorrell connected with May for a 39-yard touchdown pass. Sorrell’s extra point kick was good.
Gilbert then went ahead 8-7 with 5:36 remaining until halftime as Josh Lester ran in from 22 yards out. The Lions were then successful on the two-point conversion.
Lenore then regained the lead with May’s 56-yard touchdown run with 3:29 to go until the half. The two-point conversion failed but the Rangers led 13-8 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Lions went back on top with 6:59 left in the game on a 4-yard TD run by Hendricks. The conversion failed but Gilbert led 14-13.
Lenore is scheduled to return to action next Tuesday night against Matewan Middle School in the Rangers’ home opener.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Lenore Middle School football field.
Lenore is coached by former Williamson High School standout football player Fred Russell. The Rangers’ assistant coach is G. Gregory, also a former Williamson football and basketball star.
Gilbert Middle School football’s Weston Christian gets a carry for good yards in the Lions’ 20-19 win at home over the Lenore Rangers on Wednesday night at the Gilbert football field. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Lenore Middle School assistant coach and former Williamson High School standout G. Gregory talks to the Rangers football team during a time out. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The Lenore Middle School cheerleaders cheer on the Rangers. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The Gilbert defense tackles the Rangers behind the line of scrimmage. (Video by Paul Adkins)