OPELIKA - Junior safety Derrick Moncrief intercepted a pass in the endzone with 12 seconds remaining to give Prattville a 24-21 win over Opelika Friday night.
A 44-yard pass from Opelika quarterback Dalton Pritchett to sophomore Calvin Bryant on fourth down put Opelika deep in Prattville territory with two minutes remaining.
On third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Pritchett rolled right but Moncrief stepped in front of his pass to preserve the win and improve Prattville to 2-2 on the season.
“That was big,” Prattville coach Jamey Dubose said. “Our two losses have come in the last minute of the game. It was almost like. ‘Here we go again.’ I kept telling the guys sooner or later the breaks would go our way and finally they did.
“I was proud of the guys for sticking in there and fighting and giving us a chance to win.”
With the game tied at 21-21 in the fourth quarter, Prattville junior quarterback Justin Thomas broke free down the left side for a 37-yard run to the Opelika 2-yard line. But a 15-yard personal foul penalty and a big sack by Opelika junior defensive end Torey Agee pushed Prattville back to the 28-yard line.
The distance didn’t seem to bother Prattville kicker Christopher Kennedy, who drilled a 45-yard field goal to put the Lions up 24-21.
Prattville jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter on a touchdown pass by Thomas and a 1-yard run by tailback Deante Lawrence.
Thomas had a huge game completing 15-of-23 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, and rushing for 133 yards and another touchdown on 12 carries.
“He’s something special. He’s a playmaker,” Dubose said.
Opelika came storming back on an 85-yard touchdown run by Bryant just seconds after Prattville’s second score. Then the Bulldogs rode the powerful legs of junior running back Cameron Hill, who rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
Hill tied the game 14-14 in the second quarter, diving into the endzone from 1-yard out. He tied the game 21-21 in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run on fourth down as he carried two Prattville defenders into the endzone.
“It was two great teams out there battling,” Opelika coach Brian Blackmon said. “There’s a lot of fight in our team. I’m proud of our team. It came down to one play and we made a mistake right there at the end that I know we wish we could have back.”
Agee led the Opelika defense with six tackles, three tackles-for-loss and two sacks.
“He made a bunch of plays for us tonight,” Blackmon said. “A lot of guys stepped up tonight. Everybody wearing a red jersey that was on that field tonight left everything they had. They drained it. They emptied the gas tank out there tonight.”
Prattville junior defensive lineman Justin Shanks had finished with three tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack.
Prattville plays at Lanier next Saturday while Opelika, which fell to 1-3, hosts Dothan next Friday.