Port St. Joe overcame a 16-7 halftime deficit to rally past Sneads 30-24 in overtime in the first round of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference North Florida League playoff on Thursday night in Sneads.
With the win, the Tiger Sharks (4-4) advance to the semifinals of the tournament where they will face the winner of Monday’s matchup between No. 2 seed Baker and No. 7 seed Jefferson County.
Sneads (7-1) will play the loser of that game. Port St. Joe came into the game as the No. 6 seed the Pirates looked the part of the No. 3 seed early on, with a 42-yard Seth Scott run setting up a 5-yard touchdown by Colton Mercer for an early 6-0 lead.
After a Sneads field goal to make it 9-0, Port St. Joe answered back with a 39-yard touchdown run by Demarion Gray on a jet sweep to make it 9-7 late in the first quarter.
The Pirates extended the lead to 16-7 at the break when Colton Mercer threw a last-second heave to Dylan Dawson for a 50-yard touchdown.
Colin Amison helped bring the Tiger Sharks back in the second half with touchdown passes to Davien Welch and Tray Dockery that, along with a field goal by Christian Logan, sent the game into overtime tied at 24.
Port St. Joe won the toss and deferred to give the ball to Sneads first to open the extra session, and the Pirates missed a field goal.
It took the Tiger Sharks just two plays from the 10-yard line to punch it in, with Kelvin Griffin scoring the game-winner from 5 yards out.
It was a dramatic end to a crazy day for both teams, who were originally scheduled to play Friday night before having the game moved up on Thursday due to weather concerns from the developing tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We were not ready to play today, but in lieu of playing on Monday, we would rather play (Thursday)," PSJ coach Greg Jordan said after the game. "All our practices were done and we were ready, but actually being ready to go with the pre-game meal and all those little things that you usually do before a game, we weren’t ready. It was chaos, but we got it done and pulled it off. It was a good crowd and a good ballgame."
The Tiger Sharks may have looked like the underdog on paper, but Jordan said he believed his team’s schedule, which included losses to the likes of 4A teams Marianna, South Walton, and Rutherford, had them prepared for this moment.
"I think it definitely didn’t hurt us," Jordan said. "Being 3-4 is no fun, but I just think we were a little more tested in tough ballgames than (the Pirates) were, so I think our schedule did help us a little bit.
"We were trying to keep it close late and stay in the game where we had a chance in the fourth quarter. Sneads is a really good football team, but we didn’t feel like they had been in many 48-minute games. They had some 44s, some 30s, but we didn’t think they had to play late in many contests like that."