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Special teams the difference in Lion victory


DANVILLE – The Mount Ida Lions find themselves one game away from the 2A state finals after a thrilling 28-27 overtime victory over the Danville Little Johns.
The two one seeds faced off Friday in the quarterfinals of the 2A state playoffs with Mount Ida traveling to Danville.
Mount Ida opened the game aggresively, recovering an onside kick on the opening kick off. The Lions were on the cusp of taking an early lead after driving 46 yards in six plays. Mount Ida tried to push the ball in from the one yard line, but fumbled the ball as Cade Jackson punched it into the end zone. Danville fell on the ball to end Mount Ida’s opening drive.
The two teams swapped possessions twice before Danville was able to find the end zone for the first score of the game. The Little Johns took over on the Lion 44. Quarterback Jake Madding opened the drive with a 44 yard run for a touchdown. The PAT was good and the Little Johns held a 7-0 lead with 1:49 to go in the opening quarter.
Mount Ida would respond with 21 unanswered points.
The Lions knotted things up at seven after Jackson capped a 15 play 80 yard drive with a four yard touchdown run. Tyler Allenbrand hit the PAT to tie things up at seven with 2:12 to go n the half.
Cade Helms intercepted a pass and the Lions took over on the Little John 26 yard line with 1:04 to go in the half. Mount Ida quickly approached the end zone and scored on a 14 yard pass to Anthony Spurling with 15 seconds left in the half. Allenbrand connected on the PAT to give the Lions a 14-7 lead.
Mount Ida opened the second half with a lengthy drive that ate up over six minutes of the third quarter. The Lions started off on their own 22 yard line and marched downfield in 14 plays to score on a seven yard run by Jackson. Allenbrand’s PAT was good with 5:42 to go in the third quarter.
Danville punched the ball into Lion territory, but Jonathan Legrange ended the drive with an interception on their own seven yard line.
The Little Johns were able to force the Lions to punt on a fourth and five from their own 12. Danville needed only three plays to cut the lead to eight with 1:19 to go in the third on a 35 yard run by Madding. The PAT was good and the Lions held a 21-14 lead.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair with neither team finding the end zone for most of the period. However, Danville was able to find the end zone with 32 seconds left in the fourth when Madding found Evan Lane open for a 36 yard touchdown. The PAT was good and the game was knotted up at 21.
The Lions ran out of time as they tried to respond with a score of their own and the teams prepared for overtime.
Mount Ida won the toss and chose to take the second possession.
Danville lined up on the 10 yard line and punched the ball in on a third and short on a quarterback keeper by Madding. The teams lined up for the PAT and Cade Jackson was able to slip in under the offensive linemen to block the kick.
Mount Ida took possession on the 10 yard line down 27-21.
Jackson charged to the three yard line and Cade Helms was able to move the ball to the one. On third and one Jackson took the snap and handed the ball to Jonathan Legrange who pushed his way into the end zone to tie the game at 27. Tyler Allenbrand hit the PAT to win the game for Mount Ida 28-27.
Danville won the yardage battle amassing 360 yards while Mount Ida totaled 310. Mount Ida rushed for 270 yards and passed for 40.
Cade Helms had 27 carries for 106 yards to lead the Lion ground effort. Cade Jackson had 12 carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He was two for four for 40 yards and a touchdown in the air.
Jonathan Legrange had 15 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown, followed by Gage Dyer with eight carries for 40 yards.
Austin McAdoo had a catch for 26 yards and Anthony Spurling had a 14 yard catch for a touchdown.
Cade Helms and Jonathan Legrange each had an interception.
Mount Ida will return home Friday to face Camden Harmony Grove in the semifinals of the 2A state playoffs. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at Preston Stidman Field in Mount Ida.

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