E.A. Sports Today

Nothing short of incredible

Weaver puts together a late fourth-quarter drive to force overtime, then beats Plainview on second extra session

Shamar Spinks (7) and Dalton Hamby (12) played key roles for Weaver at the end of regulation and in overtime Friday night. On the cover Spinks gets to the corner. (Photos by Candra Roberts/Fort Payne Times-Journal)

By Bradley Roberts
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

RAINSVILLE — Dalton Hamby might not have a happy memory of the last time Weaver met Plainview in the playoffs, but he made a bunch of them Friday night.

The Bearcats senior quarterback directed his team on an incredible last-minute drive to tie the game in regulation and then threw a dart to Shamar Spinks for a two-point conversion in the second overtime to lift his team over the sixth-ranked Bears 30-29 and into the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.

The play came after the Spinks threw a halfback pass to Robert Gaines for the touchdown to make it 29-28. Even more incredibly, the Bearcats put together the game-tying 75-yard drive, down eight with 2:50 to play and no timeouts to force overtime.

“That was the most unbelievable game I’ve ever been a part of,” Bearcats offensive coordinator Gary Atchley said.

“I’ve been coaching 26-27 years and it’s one of the best victories I’ve ever been a part of, definitely the best as a head coach,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby said. “We had so many guys step up.

“What they had was they weren’t going to lose the game. You felt they were not going to lose this game and they did everything in their power not to lose it. We were just not going to lose this game.”

The teams met in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs when Dalton Hamby was a freshman. His coach/father put him a game that had long been decided in Plainview’s favor with about three minutes to play just to give him some experience.

The Bearcats called a reverse, Hamby went downfield to block and wound up breaking his ankle.

“He came back (here Friday) and totally redeemed himself,” Atchley said.

Friday night’s game mimicked in many ways the sixth-ranked Bears’ regular season finale when they beat Moody in overtime on a two-point conversion. This time the ending wasn’t as happy for them.

Both teams had a passing touchdown and extra point to tie it at 22 in the first overtime. Plainview quarterback Bailey Dukes connected with Jacob Wooten, and Hamby connected with Spinks for the scores.

Plainview got the go-ahead touchdown in the second overtime. The Bears lined up at the 10 and Dukes handed the ball to senior tailback Clay Cooper on a sweep. Cooper came around the corner following behind a pair of blockers, broke away from the defenders and dove across the goal line. Luis Hernandez tacked on the extra point, and the Bears grabbed the lead back at 29-22.

Weaver responded immediately with a first-down touchdown as well. Hamby pitched the ball to Spinks in the backfield. The running back was looking for the pass and threw across his body, connecting with Gaines for the touchdown.

The Bearcats lined up for the two-point conversion, which forced Plainview head coach Dustin Goodwin to call a timeout. The next play was going to determine who would move on to the second round of the playoffs.

Hamby lined up, took the snap and rolled to his right. He threw a dart to Spinks who caught the ball and then fell backwards into the end zone for the win-securing points.

The Bearcats (7-4) now host Colbert Heights (10-1) in a second-round game Friday night.

“The thing that’s so great about Dalton is he’s not the fastest guy we have, he doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he’s got that will to win,” Daryl Hamby said.

The Bearcats sent the game into overtime in just about as dramatic a fashion as it gets. They got the ball back with just over three minutes on the clock. Plainview pinned them at their own 26-yard line.

Weaver worked down the field on nine plays, but found themselves in a fourth-and-8 situation from the 34 with less than 20 seconds on the clock.

Hamby launched a prayer downfield that was caught by Gaines around the 5 and Gaines dove forward to the 1 with 8.2 seconds on the clock. Hamby rushed to the line and spiked the ball. Caleb Allison bulled into the end zone on the next play.

“With 5.6 seconds my experience is it’s one play,” Daryl Hamby said. “One of the coaches said call a pass so we get two (plays). I called a dive with Caleb. Tyrek (Hall) was the guy I knew would give me my yard. I know Caleb’s gonna give me my yard. He has a will to succeed all the time. I felt confident.”

The two-point conversion from Hamby to Spinks tied it at 15-all with 2.3 seconds, and that was what brought the game to overtime.

“I called a slant for a wide out and when I did the safety was right there,” Daryl Hamby said. “Dalton and Shamar got together and they did what we call a wheel since safety stayed because of the slant. Shamar was wide open. I would love to take credit for that, but they did it. They saw it. They completed it.”

Plainview scored first on a 7-yard pass from Dukes to receiver Cade Willingham, but they missed the extra point. Hamby rushed for a touchdown with 35.2 seconds left in the first half and Riley Benavides’ extra point gave the Bearcats a 7-6 halftime lead.

Plainview regained the lead with 11:16 remaining in the game when Dukes converted a 10-yard touchdown to Cooper. The Bears lined for the two-pointer to take back the point they had lost earlier, but weren’t able to convert.

The Bears recovered a fumble with a little over 10 minutes remaining. Defensive tackle David Spigner dove on a loose ball at the 25. Dukes led his team to the 9-yard line where Hernandez kicked a 26-yard field goal with 8:33 to play to make it 15-7.

Bradley Roberts is managing editor of the Fort Payne Times-Journal.

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