Starkville falls on final play

October 24, 2010 12:40:00 AM



OLIVE BRANCH -- Olive Branch High School quarterback Todd Mays scrambled under the pressure Friday night from the oncoming Starkville defense. 


The Yellow Jackets had just finished celebrating a 6-yard scoring pass from Jaquez Johnson to Shaquille Hill -- their third of the game -- with 6.5 seconds on the game clock. 


Mays knew no time was left on the scoreboard and that his Conquistadors were behind in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 1 contest. 


So Mays flung a miracle pass to a wide-open De''Arthur Cowan, who snagged the football at the 20-yard line and ran untouched to give Olive Branch a 40-36 victory. 


Although Mays will be remembered for his touchdown pass, he also rushed 13 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns. 


Starkville''s Johnson was 13 of 28 for 153 yards and three touchdowns -- all to Hill -- while running 22 times for 67 yards and two scores. 


Olive Branch opened the scoring with a 1-yard run by Mays. Johnson answered with a 1-yard scoring run for Starkville. 


On the ensuing kickoff, Jap Payne returned it 98 yards to give Olive Branch the upper hand. Johnson, however, connected with Hill for their first touchdown pass, a 27-yarder. Daniel Fumo opened the second quarter for Starkville with a 21-yard field goal. 


Hays put Olive Branch ahead 21-17 after he ran in from 17 yards. But the Johnson-to-Hill connection put another touchdown on the board before halftime for a 24-21 Starkville lead. 


Cowan scored in the third quarter on a 9-yard pass from Mays to take the lead. Johnson scored from 2 yards to push Starkville back in front before the deciding fourth-quarter fireworks. 


Hill''s six receptions amounted to 103 yards for Starkville.