Livonia wins overtime thriller

LIVONIA — A second chance was all Amadeo Carbjal and his coach David Brewerton needed to put Livonia into the state semifinals for the first time.

Carbjal’s 23-yard field goal on the second LHS possession of overtime gave the fifth-seeded Wildcats a 24-21 victory against No. 13 seed Jennings Friday night in the Class 3A quarterfinals.

Livonia (11-2), which blocked two Jennings field-goal attempts late in the game, move on to the seminfinals against No. 1 seed Parkview, which beat North DeSoto 62-21.

LHS’ Russell Farris rushed for 109 yards, intercepted a pass and came up with a blocked kick in overtime to keep the Wildcats alive.

Jennings (9-4) was led by 81 rushing yards from Jarquise Brown and 80 from Charlie Matte. Malik Williams caught one touchdown pass and added an interception.

“We worked our butts off and deserved to have something good (happen),” Brewerton said. “I’m just so proud of the heart these kids played with down the stretch.”

Farris appeared to score on the first overtime possession on a 1-yard run, but his would-be score was wiped out by a motion penalty. Then Carbjal’s 24-yard attempt missed off the right upright.

But on Jennings’ next possession, Livonia’s Justin Riley pounced on a fumble and gave the ball back to the Wildcats. Three plays later, Carbjal connected for his game-winner.

The Livonia kicker could have had a chance to give his team the lead in the fourth quarter, but Brewerton passed on a field-goal attempt on fourth-and-1 from the Jennings 2.

Then quarterback Ben Todd was stopped at the 3 to give Jennings the ball with 2:01 to go in regulation.

“That’s a first-year football player right there,” Brewerton said of Carbjal. “I snuck a peek over there and saw softball-sized eyes. We’ve been getting that yard right all night and give them credit. They bowed up and made the stop right there.”

Then the Bulldogs marched all the way to the Livonia 23 with four seconds left in regulation. But Nelson blocked a 40-yard field-goal attempt to force overtime.

It was no surprise the teams needed extra time considering they matched each other score for score.

“They’ve got a good football team, and we do, too,” Jennings coach Rusty Phelps said. “I thought both teams played their hearts out. I thought it was a great high school football game. And I’m very proud of the effort my coaches and players put in.”

Matte capped Jennings’ 64-yard drive on the game’s first series with a 3-yard touchdown run. Seth Cox added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 6:56 to play in the first quarter.

Todd’s 43-yard TD pass to Darius Hammond and Carbjal’s PAT tied the game at 7 with 1:36 remaining in the opening period.

A methodical 56-yard drive put Jennings back in front midway through the second quarter. Bryan Wilridge’s 4-yard run wrapped up the scoring drive as Jennings went back in front 14-7 at the 6-minute mark.

A 45-yard halfback pass from Kerry Savoy to Hammond set up Marquis Beauvais’ 4-yard TD run as Livonia pulled even at 14 with 4:31 to play before halftime.

Farris’ interception with 1:26 remaining helped set up Livonia’s scoring drive that ended the first half. On the last play before halftime, Todd ran in from 4 yards out as the Wildcats grabbed a 21-14 advantage.

Jennings tied it at 21-21 on Jaylon Boutte’s 43-yard screen pass to Williams on the first play of the fourth quarter.