Still standing: Spartans score late, top Glasgow to push win streak to 21 straight

GLASGOW – South Warren was close to doing something Friday it hadn’t done in a long time – lose.

Dug into a 14-0 hole at halftime and trailing 20-14 with under 30 seconds remaining against Glasgow, the No. 2 ranked team in Class 3A, the Class 5A fourth-ranked Spartans prevailed – scoring on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Mason Willingham to Tomi Mustapha with just 14.2 seconds left to earn a hard-fought 21-20 win at Hank Royse Stadium.

South Warren – which is now 6-0 on the season and hasn’t suffered a loss since Nov. 24, 2017 – extended its state-leading win streak to 21 games with the come-from-behind victory.

“We just told them that it’s not over,” Mustapha said of what was said on the sideline prior to the game-winning play. “We came to compete. We talked about this all week. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. We knew they were gonna come out here and compete and knew it was gonna be a tough game, so we just put it all out there and we had to be playmakers when we had to be.

“We just executed.”

Glasgow (5-1) led 7-0 after the opening quarter and by the pair of scores at the break before South found the end zone in the third to cut its deficit in half. The Spartans again scored with just over four minutes remaining to even the scoreboard – and the Scotties quickly followed up with a touchdown of their own – but South Warren delivered the final punch to come out on top.

Willingham completed 18-of-29 passes for 148 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Mustapha made six receptions for 60 yards and two TDs.

Glasgow controlled the first 22 minutes of action.

“We thought we could (play with South Warren),” Glasgow coach Jeff Garmon said. “Everybody else was the ones telling us we couldn’t play with them. We believed all along we could play with them. We knew we were gonna have to play a near-perfect game. For the most part, we did it all night long.”

Receiving the opening kickoff, the Scotties put together a quick five-play, 86-yard drive – highlighted by a 70-yard strike from quarterback Tanner Abernathy to wide receiver Hunter Scott on the second play – and the duo capped it with a seven-yard touchdown to put Glasgow up 7-0 at the 9:27 mark of the first quarter.

After Willingham threw an interception on the Spartans’ second series and Glasgow punted, the Scotties regrouped early into the second and assembled a 10-play scoring drive.

A few plays after Abernathy connected with wideout Jamari Mack for a 46-yard gain, the quarterback kept it himself and crossed the pylon from two yards out to double Glasgow’s lead to 14-0 at the 6:07 mark – and it took that same advantage into the locker room at the break.

“The first half there, I just thought our entire team was just disinterested,” South Warren coach Brandon Smith said. “Really disappointed in the way we came out and the way we were playing. The second half I challenged ‘em a little bit. We were trying to get something going and find some sort of rhythm. Glasgow’s a phenomenal team – they really are – and they did a really nice job.”

South Warren finally found an answer in the third quarter and battled back.

Putting together a lengthy drive that knocked nearly seven minutes off the clock, the Spartans capped it with a 23-yard touchdown connection between Willingham and wide receiver Jantzen Dunn. On 4th and 14, Willingham received the snap, stepped back and found Dunn in the left corner of the end zone – and the receiver made an incredible catch to bring South within 14-7 at the 5:03 mark.

The Spartans again found the end zone with 4:32 remaining, scoring on a one-yard run by Luke Burton. One play after Abernathy fumbled a high snap that South recovered at the Scotties’ 1, Burton provided the score to tie it at 14-all.

Abernathy hit Scott with a 49-yard TD strike to quickly put Glasgow back in front, but Willingham and Mustapha connected for their big score to send the Spartans back to Bowling Green with another “W.”

“Everybody was crying on the sidelines. I was like, ‘Man, y’all keep your head up,’” Willingham said. “We just stepped back and threw it into the corner of the end zone. It was all drew up just as planned and they executed it perfectly fine.”

Abernathy finished 14-of-26 for 244 yards and two TDs to go along with a rushing score, while Scott caught four passes for 129 yards and a pair of TDs.

South Warren will look to remain hot next Friday as it hosts crosstown rival Bowling Green, while Glasgow will look to bounce back on the road at Adair County. Both contests are scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.

“I think we’ve gotta regroup from this game” said Smith. “We made a lot of mistakes. This was not pretty by any means and I think we’ve gotta work some kinks out and not let a win blind us from issues that we have. We’re gonna work those out and continue to work on ourselves and get ready for next week.”

South Warren 21, Glasgow 20

SWHS –   0          0             7             14 — 21

GHS –       7          7              0              6 — 20

First quarter

GHS – Abernathy 7 pass to Scott (Elizalde kick), 9:27

Second quarter

GHS – Abernathy 2 run (Elizalde kick), 6:07

Third quarter

SWHS – Willingham 23 pass to Dunn (Dervisevic kick), 5:03

Fourth quarter

SWHS – Burton 1 run (Dervisevic kick), 4:32

GHS – Abernathy 49 pass to Scott (Kick blocked), 4:09

SWHS – Willingham 13 pass to Mustapha (Dervisevic kick), 0:14.2

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