DUMAS — Monticello left the door open for Dumas several times Friday in an 8-4A Conference battle for a likely playoff spot, but the Bobcats just couldn’t find their way through when it mattered in a 24-17 overtime loss.
The Bobcats (2-4 in 8-4A, 2-7 overall) still could make it into the Class 4A playoffs, but they would have to beat Hamburg at home on Thursday and have the cards fall right for them, while the Billies (3-3 in league play, 3-6) are in with a win at home against DeWitt.
Field goals played a big role in the contest, with Monticello taking a 3-0 lead on a 23-yarder by Ryan Case with 3:27 left in the opening quarter. Monticello forced Dumas into a quick three-and-out to open the game and used 7:03 to drive from their 25 to inside the Bobcat two before a penalty and the Dumas defense forced the kick.
Dumas drove to the Monticello 39 before fumbling, but got the ball back two plays later on an interception and drove 65 yards in 14 plays to take the lead on a 5-yard pass from Ryan Miller to Ladarius Harris on fourth-and-goal with 3:45 left in the half. Jairo Ramirez’s PAT put Dumas ahead 7-3. The Bobcats overcame a holding call and took advantage of a pass interference call during the drive.
The Billies struck back on a 5-yard run by quarterback Imani Riley with 31.6 seconds remaining in the half after Riley connected with Anthony Milhollen on a 42-yard pass play. Dumas returned the ensuing kickoff to the Billie 43 and used a long pass to Keondrick Spencer, who was later injured and carried off the field by an ambulance crew, to reach the Monticello 16 before losing a fumble to end the half with the Billies ahead 10-7.
Monticello opened the second half by driving 58 yards in nine plays to take a 17-7 lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by Omar Simpson and PAT by Case with 7:17 left in the third quarter.
Dumas pulled within 17-14 with 4:25 left on another fourth-down touchdown pass by Miller, this one to Spencer, with Ramirez adding the PAT.
The Billies used the rest of the third period and two minutes of the fourth to reach the Bobcat 15 before giving up the ball with 9:51 left, apparently figuring Dumas was not a threat in the field goal department and that a touchdown would have been more useful.
The Bobcats used more than five minutes moving the ball to the Billie 13, where a fourth-down keeper by Miller came up just short.
The Dumas defense forced a quick three-and-out and the Bobcats took over at their own 41 with 1:49 remaining.
Dumas had reached the 20 when it appeared the Bobcat receiver was ridden out of the end zone by a defender with 10.5 seconds left, but there was no interference call. On the next play, however, the Billies were penalized for pass interference and Ramirez booted a 27 yard field goal to tie the score at 17-17 with less than a second remaining.
Time ran out on the ensuing kickoff and Dumas got the ball first in overtime, netting just one yard on three tries. Ramirez was called in to try a 26-yarder, but the ball hit the goal post and bounced away, this time leaving the door wide open for the Billies.
It took just one play as Justin Berry scored on first down and Case added the PAT to make it final at 24-17. Ironically, Berry’s lone rush was the only time during the entire game that anyone other than Riley or Simpson carried the ball.