By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON — The Rams football team needed a two-point conversion to send Friday's game into a second overtime period.
Demontez Miller-Gray was stopped short, and Marion celebrated a 44-42 win.
“Very difficult,” Mt. Vernon coach Jared Shaner said of the game. “I just told the kids we just made too many mistakes. It doesn't come down to a fourth down play on the goal line in overtime.”
Mt. Vernon stormed to a 14-0 lead in the opening half of action. Miller-Gray had touchdown runs of 35 and 14 yards. The second put the Rams ahead 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Mt. Vernon held a two-score lead late in the half before Marion closed to 22-14 on a Brant Hill score. The Rams had a chance to restore its big lead just before the half. With seconds winding down, quarterback Dylan Reeves tried to hit Doug Gardner with a quick pass in the end zone. Gardner couldn't hold on.
“Doug does a great job for us,” Shaner said. “Professionals drop balls. You can't catch every one.”
The Wildcats took the ball to open the second half and scored to make the game 22 all. The touchdown started a string of alternating scores between the two teams.
The back-and-forth ended with Marion knotting the game at 36 with 34.4 seconds left in regulation. The score answered Mt. Vernon's from minutes earlier. The Rams ripped about seven minutes off the clock. The drive ended with Drew Hester ramming into the end zone. The Rams couldn't convert the two-point attempt and led 36-28.
In overtime, Marion scored on a run from Jared Dorris and tacked on another two points.
Mt. Vernon answered with a Miller-Gray scoring run. Miller-Gray took the two-point attempt, bobbled the ball grabbed it back and was stopped.
Graham Henken led Mt. Vernon with 95 yards on the ground, and Miller-Gray added 85. Reeves passed for 41 yards.
Marion's Brant Hill thew for 176 yards.
Mt. Vernon is 3-2 this season and hosts Carbondale on Friday.