With the outcome of the game hinging on one play, Nick Parrino knocked a 32-yard field goal through the uprights with three seconds remaining as River Oaks topped East Rankin (Miss.) 17-16 Friday night.
Parrino missed a potential go-ahead field goal earlier in the evening, but the night would end well for the junior, whose clutch kick provided the margin of victory in the Mustangs’ home opener.
“Nick made the second one. That’s all that matters,” River Oaks coach Robert Hannah said.
River Oaks began its final possession from the ERA 40 after a short punt. From there, the Mustangs drove to the 15, setting up Parrino’s decisive kick.
“We were able to get close enough to give Nick a shot in the end,” Hannah said.
Rebounding from a 19-14 season-opening loss to Benton (Miss.), the Mustangs evened their record at 1-1.
“I’m excited for the win. We needed something good to happen,” Hannah said. “I thought ERA looked better on film than Bolton. We just played a little better this week. We are going to keep working and trying to improve every week.”
Miguel Gonzalez, who ran back a kickoff for a touchdown vs. Benton, helped the Mustangs get off to a fast start by returning the opening kickoff to the 3-yardline. Drake Tannehill punched it in from two yards away and Parrino added the extra point to put the Mustangs up 7-0.
Later in the first quarter, the Patriots countered with a big special teams play of their own to tie the game. Stephen Bulger recovered a blocked punt in the end zone and Jack Pittman converted the PAT to square the score at 7.
On to the second period, Patrick Martin’s 10-yard pass to Ethan Reiss helped the visitors open up a 13-7 lead.
River Oaks regained the upper hand, 14-13, at halftime on an 11-yard run by Ousman Amadou-Ide.
Pittman’s 33-yard field goal, which enabled the Patriots to take a 16-14 third quarter advantage, and Parrino’s 32-yarder were the only points of the second half.
For the second straight week, the Mustangs received a solid defensive effort. River Oaks limited the Patriots to seven first downs and 126 total yards (87 rushing, 39 passing).
“I thought we did a great job of going to the football,” Hannah said. “Other than the one touchdown pass, our defense didn’t give up a whole lot.”
River Oaks struggled offensively as well, producing 161 yards (98 passing, 63 rushing). On the flip side, the Mustangs were turnover free, put a drive together with the game hanging in the balance, quarterback Drake Tannehill was an efficient 13-of-20 through the air and running back Clay Simonton ran the ball effectively.
“We threw the ball a little better this week. Drake threw the ball well, but we had a couple of drops,” Hannah said. “Clay Simonton had a couple of nice runs. It was a good team effort.”
There was no time to celebrate the ERA victory as the Mustangs open MSAIS District 4-4A play against Riverfield on Thursday night at Joe Meeks Field in Rayville.
Coach Boyd Cole’s Raiders are off to a 2-0 start with wins over Central Hinds (36-8) and perennial power Tri-County (50-49).
“Riverfield is a on a roll,” Hannah said. “They beat a good football team Friday night. We start district early with a quality opponent on a short week, so we have our work cut out for us.”
BY THE NUMBERS
ERA …………………………….. RO
7 ………. First downs ………… 11
87 ……… Yards rushing ……… 63
39 ……… Yards passing …..… 98
11-5-1 … Passes (A-C-I) …..… 20-15-0
1-15 …… Punts-avg. …………. 5-25
0-0 …….. Fumbles-lost ………. 0-0
6-60 …… Penalties-yards ……. 6-55
East Rankin … 7… 6 … 3 … 0 —17
River Oaks …. 7 … 7 … 0 … 3 —16
RO — Drake Tannehill 2-run (Nick Parrino kick)
ER — Stephen Bulger recovered blocked punt in end zone (Jack Pittman kick)
ER — Ethan Reiss 10-pass from Patrick Martin)
RO — Ousman Amadou-Ide 11-run (Parrino kick)
ER — Pittman 33-FG
RO — Parrino 32-FG