East Limestone stunned in final seconds

East Limestone's Jordan Gardner runs with the ball Friday night during the Indians' game against Sylvania. East lost 43-40 thanks to a Sylvania touchdown in the final seconds.

East Limestone looked as if it had completed a second-half comeback to defeat Sylvania. But the Indians gave Sylvania a little too much time, and the Rams took advantage, scoring a touchdown with just 27 seconds left to steal a 43-40 victory.

The loss spoiled a career game from Indians quarterback Dillon Parris. The senior completed 11-of-14 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown and also rushed 116 yards and two scores. However, Sylvania quarterbacks threw for 414 yards on just 13 completions in what turned out to be an offensive shootout.

The game started well for East Limestone, with Parris scoring on a 47-yard run and Jordan Gardner running in the 2-point conversion to put the Indians up 8-0 early.

Sylvania answered with Zack Anderson's 7-yard touchdown run, but the 2-point conversion attempt failed, leaving East up by two.

Gardner increased the lead to 15-6 on a 21-yard touchdown run, but Sylvania answered with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Brody Smith to Keenan Wilbanks. East Limestone closed the scoring in the first half on a Syrus James 20-yard field goal as time expired and took an 18-13 lead into the locker room.

However, the third quarter belonged to Sylvania, as they scored 17 consecutive points to take a 12-point lead.

Smith threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Braiden Thomas to give the Rams a 21-18 lead after the 2-point conversion. East Limestone was then tackled in the end zone for a safety before Smith threw another long touchdown pass, this one a 45-yarder to Wilbanks.

East Limestone finally broke Sylvania's scoring run with a touchdown pass from Parris to Kollin Swart to make the score 30-25 heading into the fourth quarter.

The final quarter was a seesaw affair. East Limestone took its first lead of the second half on a 3-yard run by Swart followed by a 2-point conversion pass from Parris to Chase Newby.

However, Sylvania immediately answered when Sawyer Hughes threw an 84-yard touchdown pass to Thomas to make the score 36-33 after the failed extra point.

East Limestone thought it had escaped with the win when Parris rambled 29 yards for a touchdown with 1:43 remaining, but that was plenty of time for Sylvania to mount one final scoring drive.

The winning points came on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Thomas with just 27 seconds remaining.

Gardner was East Limestone's leading rusher, gaining 146 yards on 22 carries. Jed Sutherland had two catches for 75 yards, while Swart had 53 yards receiving and 53 more rushing.

East Limestone fell to 6-3 overall and has next week off as it awaits to see who it will play in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

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