Photo by Danny Vaughn

The Yellow Jackets celebrate after an overtime victory against Lynn Camp on Friday night.

Middlesboro outlasts Lynn Camp 28-27 in OT

The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets fought their way to a thrilling overtime victory on the road against Lynn Camp Friday night. After trailing 21-13 for the majority of the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets were able to punch in a touchdown with under a minute left to take the game in to overtime and hold off the Wildcats for a 28-27 victory.

“We made a lot of mistakes, but we found a way to win,” said Middlesboro coach Larry French. “We continue to make mistakes that we have to get corrected as quickly as possible. It will register one of these days. Any time you can win, celebrate the win, then get back to work the next day.”

Lynn Camp struck first early in the second quarter. On their second play of the quarter, Tylen Smith connected on a 29-yard pass to Spencer Gilbert, giving Lynn Camp the ball on the Middlesboro one-yard line. On the ensuing play, the Wildcats punched the ball in on a quarterback keeper from Smith. The Wildcats missed the PAT, giving them a 6-0 lead.

Trailing by six, Middlesboro marched down the field quickly, thanks to some big runs from Jabari Kyle and a costly face mask penalty by Lynn Camp. The Yellow Jackets answered the Wildcat touchdown with a one-yard rushing touchdown from Kyle to knot the score at 6-6 following a missed extra point.

On the ensuing kickoff, Gilbert returned the kick for a 77-yard touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 12-6 lead after again failing to convert the PAT. The score would hold up allowing Lynn Camp to take a six-point lead into halftime.

Lynn Camp wasted no time in finding the end zone after the half. After receiving the second half kickoff, the Wildcats hit pay dirt on a 60-yard rushing touchdown by Jayden Dunn, giving them an 18-6 lead over the Yellow Jackets. Continuing their struggles on PATs, Lynn Camp’s conversion attempt was intercepted in the end zone by Middlesboro.

Middlesboro finally answered back on a 32-yard rushing touchdown by Kyle, making the score 18-12 with just over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. The first successful PAT of the night was converted by Thaisan Sin after the touchdown, bringing the score to 18-13.

After regaining possession, Brown found big yardage for the Wildcats on a 30-yard run, giving Lynn Camp possession deep into Middlesboro territory. Two big holding calls on Lynn Camp forced them into a deep third down conversion attempt that was intercepted by Middlesboro.

The Lynn Camp defense held Middlesboro into another turnover on downs on its ensuing offensive possession. However, the Yellow Jackets’ defense held as well, forcing the Wildcats to turn the ball over on downs. Each team would have one more unsuccessful offensive drive, before Lynn Camp added three points on a 20-yard field goal from Luke Ledington to give the Wildcats a 21-13 lead heading into the fourth.

Middlesboro quickly drove down the field and answered with a five-yard rushing touchdown from Kyle, who also successfully converted the two-point conversion to ty the game at 21-21. Middlesboro held Lynn Camp’s final drive to minimal yardage.

With just under four minutes remaining in the game, the Yellow Jackets began to march down the field in hopes of scoring what would appeared to be a game-winning score. After three straight first downs, Middlesboro had worked the clock down to the final few seconds and lined up for a field goal. Sin’s kick went wide left, and the game went into overtime.

Helton took over the game in overtime for Middlesboro. He made two big runs, one of which was a touchdown, to give the Jackets a 28-21 lead after a successful Sin PAT.

Brown barreled into the end zone for Lynn Camp for their touchdown in overtime, however, Ledington missed the PAT, giving Middlesboro a 28-27 victory in exciting fashion on the road.

“(Lynn Camp) played extremely well,” said French. “I thought we did a better job up front than they did, and I think that’s what gave us the advantage. Brown, Dunn and Gilbert all had great games for them and they’re great athletes. They’re a pretty good team that was 2-0 before this game. Any time we can go on the road and come away with a win, that’s a good thing for us.

“Eric took over in overtime. We had a costly penalty in overtime that set us back a little bit, and coach Bowling told Eric (Helton) that if he gets the edge, to just run it in. He found the edge twice and punched it into the end zone for us. We are going to celebrate the win, but get right back to work tomorrow.”

Jabari Kyle led Middlesboro with three rushing touchdowns and 158 yards. Eric Helton added the game-winning touchdown in overtime for Middlesboro. He was 2-for-10 passing with 26 yards and two interceptions.

With the win, Middlesboro improved to 2-1 on the season ahead of their match up with Harlan (0-3) at home Friday night.