It wasn't easy, but Palestine-Hutsonville's football team was able to put points on the board early and late, then came up with the stop it needed to pull out a victory on the road at Edwards County, 22-14, in overtime, in Little Illini Conference Eastern Division play.
The win also stopped a three-game losing streak for the Pioneers and kept alive their slim postseason hopes for at least another week.
"We managed to make it interesting," PHS-HHS head coach Adam Seaney said. "That was the most enthusiastic, hardest-working Edwards County team we've faced since I have been here."
Palestine-Hutsonville nearly doubled their scoring output for the season Friday night, but the game could not be decided in regulation.
The Pioneers struck first, as Kyle Myers scored on a 22-yard run and added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 10:23 left in the opening quarter.
Edwards County would answer four minutes later, when Jake Toutloff connected with Karlin Compton for a 16-yard touchdown pass and the two-point conversion tied the game at 8-8 with 6:23 to go.
Both teams went scoreless over the middle two quarters, but Compton gave Edwards County their only lead of the game when he intercepted a pass and returned it 20 yards for a score with 7:48 remaining in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed and the Lions held a 14-8 advantage.
Palestine-Hutsonville would answer, as Myers ripped off a 67-yard touchdown run with 4:34 to play, but their two-point conversion attempt also failed, leaving the game tied and the game would head to overtime.
Edwards County won the coin toss, but elected to go on defense first.
The Pioneers wasted little time, as Myers scored on a 10-yard run on the first play, then added the two-point conversion for the eight-point lead.
Then, it was time for the Pioneers' defense to step up and they rose to the occasion. Sacks on second and third down put the Lions in a fourth-and-long situation and the Pioneers were able to come up with the stop and pick up the victory.
"We scored on our first possession, then the offense hit some speed bumps and stalled out for a while," Seaney said. "But, they picked it back up in the fourth quarter and overtime and got the job done. The defense also played well for us again."
Once again, Palestine-Hutsonville did most of their damage on the ground, as 229 of their 290 total yards were rushing.
Most of those came on the legs of Myers, who collected 160 yards and three touchdowns in 14 carries. Dylan Webster and Joe Eckert added 35 yards on the ground apiece, while Cade Fulling had 61 yards passing, despite completing just four of 19 passes. Eckert caught three of those balls for 41 yards and Matt Schmidlin added a 20-yard reception.
"That was probably the best game Kyle has played in his high school career and I was happy to see that," Seaney said. "He played well, ran the ball hard and had a great night. You also have to give some credit to the offensive line and the other guys on offense for opening up the holes for him to run through."
Toutloff supplied virtually all of the offense for Edwards County, as he rushed the ball 40 times for 119 yards and completed 10-20 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Clifford McKinney was the leading receiver with 58 yards on five receptions, while Compton had the 17-yard touchdown catch and the interception return for the other score.
Palestine-Hutsonville (2-4, 1-3 LIC Eastern) will play at Oblong for the annual Shrine Game Friday at 7 p.m.
"Everybody in the county knows how big this game is for both sides," Seaney said. "Our backs are against the wall and I am sure Oblong feels that need to win this one, too. Plus, it is the Shrine Game and their Homecoming. It should be a pretty good game this week."
Palestine-Hutsonville 8 0 0 6 8 - 22
Edwards County 8 0 0 6 0 - 14
PHHS 1Q (10:23) Kyle Myers 22 run (Myers run)
ECHS 1Q (6:23) Jake Toutloff 16 pass to Karlin Compton (Toutloff pass to Clifford McKinney)