TD
Ouachita Christian quarterback Landon Graves scored from 10 yards out in the Eagles’ first possession of overtime as OCS defeated Calvary Baptist Academy 40-37 Friday at Steven Fitzhugh Field in Monroe in a Division IV semifinal playoff contest.
 
Graves got around the right edge on the run and twisted into the end zone for the win.
 
“I was reading the defensive end and he kind of crashed in,” Graves said. “I had to dodge a few defenders and luckily I got my way in.”
 
“Landon was determined we weren’t going to play another play,” OCS head coach Steven Fitzhugh said.
 
Calvary, which defeated OCS 62-41 in the Division IV finals last year, kicked a field goal on its first possession of overtime. 
 
Top-rated and unbeaten OCS will face No. 2 Southern Lab December 11 in Lafayette for the championship.
 
Southern Lab defeated St Frederick 33-0 in the other semifinal contest.
Graves was 12-of-17 for 152 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He rushed 10 times for 20 yards.
 
“This win is No. 1 on my list by far,” Graves said of the win over Calvary, whose only other loss was to 5A Archbishop Rummel in New Orleans. “I love this home crowd, I love the school, they showed up big time. I give a lot of credit to our coaches, the receivers and blockers. I love my guys.”
 
Ouachita Christian scored on its first possession, starting at their own 38-yard line after the opening kickoff went out of bounds.
 
Two passes from Graves to Tristan Wiley helped move the ball to the Calvary 22.
OCS had first and goal from the one, but lost a yard on three plays. On fourth down, Graves found Barham White in the end zone for the first score of the game.
 
Samuel Harrell added the conversion kick for a 7-0 Eagle lead with 3:51 to play in the first quarter.
 
Calvary came out throwing the ball on its first six plays before Miles Williams picked up a yard on fourth-and-one to keep the drive going.
 
Facing fourth-and-seven from the OCS 13-yard line, Calvary quarterback Landry Lyddy completed an 11-yard pass to Thaj Simineaux to the 2-yard line.
 
Two plays later, Lyddy sneaked the ball into the end zone. Caleb Clement added the point-after to tie the game at 7-7 with 8:56 remaining in the first half.
On its next possession, OCS used a 36-yard pass from Graves to Thomas Culp to move the sticks to the 23-yard line.
 
Following an 11-yard run by Chad Strickland, Graves found Culp again, this time on a 12-yard scoring toss with 7:52 remaining. Harrell’s PAT put the Eagles up 14-7.
 
Calvary’s Xavier McGlothan returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards to the OCS 22-yard line.
 
Facing fourth-and-seven, Lyddy threw the ball to the end zone where a questionable interference call was made on Wiley, who appeared to make incidental contact with the receiver.
 
But the Eagle defense kept Calvary out of the end zone, aided by a quarterback sack by Casey Cobb and Colin Cork. The half-sack moved Cobb to No. 2 on the all-time sack leader with 18.
 
Clement connected on a 37-yard field goal with 3:08 remaining to pull the Cavaliers to within 14-10.
 
A pass that went off a receiver’s fingers into the hands of McGlothan gave Calvary possession at the OCS 38 with 2:51 remaining.
 
A 10-yard pass from Lyddy to John Simon moved the ball to the 1-yard line where Williams took it in with 33 seconds remaining. Clement’s PAT put the Cavaliers up 17-14, which they took into the locker room.
 
Calvary moved the ball down to the OCS 1-yard line on the opening possession of the second half.
 
But a fumble was recovered by OCS to end the scoring threat.
 
OCS moved the ball to the 16-yard line, but a sack pushed the ball back to the 9-yard line.
 
Following an incompletion, Calvary’s McGlothan fielded a punt on the Eagle 43, and somehow broke out of a gang of tacklers, taking the ball to the OCS 17.
 
Lyddy then hit Aubrey Hermes on a 17-yard scoring play with Clement’s kick going Calvary a 24-14 lead with 7:42 remaining in the third period.
An OCS fumble turned the ball over to Calvary at the Cavalier 48-yard line.
Another fourth down interference call aided the Cavailers, giving them a first down at the OCS 11.
 
The Eagle defense once again kept the Cavaliers out of the end zone, and Clement connected on a 28-yard field goal with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
 
OCS used a 30-yard pass play from Graves to Wiley to move the ball to the 5-yard line on their next possession.
 
Strickland then hit a big hole to the right and found pay dirt. Harrell’s kick pulled OCS to within 27-21 with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter.
 
The Eagle defense forced a three and out and the Cavaliers punted to Wiley at the Cavalier 49. Wiley returned the kick to the 36 of Calvary.
 
The Eagles moved the ball to the 15-yard line where Strickland carried it twice, going in from five yards out for the score with 9:29 remaining. Harrell’s kick gave OCS its first lead at 28-27.
 
Strickland finished with 126 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns. '
 
“There were a lot of emotions in that game,” said the junior running back. “And one of them was this this might be the last game of the season. I’m just so pumped. We knew we had to be the most physical team and we did what we had to do.”
 
“Chad is not real big, but his heart is as huge as Texas,” Fitzhugh said. “I can say that because I’m from Texas.”
 
OCS stopped Calvary on fourth-and-four with 8:44 remaining.
 
The Eagles faced third-and-11 at the Calvary 36-yard line when Graves hit Wiley just short of the first down marker. Wiley made a quick move and carried the defender past the first down marker at the Cavalier 27.
 
Two runs by Strickland moved it to the 5-yard line where Graves carried it in for the score with 5:25 remaining.
 
But the PAT was missed, leaving OCS with a 34-27 advantage.
 
Calvary then hit a big play from its 16 as Lyddy passed to Cole Thomas, who caught the ball over the middle and raced to the OCS 6-yard line. 
 
“Our defense gave up one big play and that was on me,” Fitzhugh said. “I rolled the defensive backs the wrong way.”
 
Williams carried it twice, going in from one yard out. Clement’s kick tied the game at 34-34 with 3:42 remaining.
 
On the ensuing kickoff, Wiley injured his ankle and had to leave the game, trying to walk off the injury after being tended to, but was unable to go.
 
Wiley, who committed to Air Force, finished with five catches for 70 yards.
“We had to move Landon to cornerback,” Fitzhugh said. “He’s played some deep safety. He was banged up at the time, but he battled and competed. I’m just glad we’ve got a couple of weeks for Tristan to get better.”
 
Strickland had a 12-yard run to the Calvary 37 with 1:03 remaining.
 
But an intentional grounding call pushed OCS back to its own 36-yard line.
OCS punted and McGlothan fumbled the punt, but scooped it back in, and then was hit and fumbled again, but was able to pounce back on it at his own 20-yard line.
 
Lyddy knelt down to send the game into overtime.
 
OCS won the toss and elected to go second.
 
Lyddy passed to Simon to the Eagle 4-yard line.
 
Williams was dropped for an 8-yard loss on second down.
 
An illegal man downfield call pushed the Cavaliers back to the 17.
Clement then connected on a 34-yard field goal.
 
Graves then scored the game winner on the Eagles’ first play.
 
Lyddy finished 19-of-35 for 195 yards and a touchdown.
 
“All the talk was about Lyddy, and he’s a great player,” Graves said. “I just wanted to show I was a good player, too.”
 
“It’s a shame a team had to lose, but I’m glad it wasn’t us,” Fitzhugh said. “Our defense bent, but it didn’t break. We didn’t try to bring as much pressure as we did last year, we dropped some people into coverage and kept their guys covered. I can’t say enough about our parents. We had prayer warriors walking around this field this past week praying for courage confidence and passion. Those prayers were answered.”

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