Down 19-10 with 4:00 minutes left in the game, it appeared Durant was destined for its seventh straight loss and tenth in the last eleven games to the Savages since 1984.
But, the Lions rallied for ten points down the stretch to stun Broken Bow 20-19 in a week one thriller in McCurtain County.
“These kids have a lot of heart and no give up, “said fourth-year Durant head coach Todd Vargas on the KLBC post game show. “So proud of-’em.”
Fourth quarter heroics
The Lions looked done for when Kyran Whitfield took a pick six 62 yards to pay dirt. The speedy senior had already burnt the Durant secondary catching a 64-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Anthony Clay in the first half.
However, the Lions refused to fold. QB Jaylon Saxon found senior Kaydon Mims near the right sideline and Mims took it from there going 59 yards to pay dirt.
Braylen Lyday, who had already kicked an extra point and an 18-yard field goal, banged through the all-important point after to cut it to 19-17.
After yielding one first down, The Durant defense stiffened and the Lions got the ball at their own 32-yard line with 1:18 remaining. Three plays later, Saxon, a senior, teamed up with sophomore Cole Robbins on a 35-yard completion down to 22.
On the next play, Saxon gained a yard. But, a penalty on a late hit out-of-bounds moved the ball to the ten-yard line with 40.9 seconds left. Following a Broken Bow timeout, Robbins carried for three yards to the seven-yard line and the field goal team rushed onto the field to attempt a 24-yard field goal.
Lyday drilled the football through the uprights from 24 yards out with 12.4 seconds remaining to seal the win.
“Mims made a huge play in the fourth quarter to give us a chance,” Vargas said. “Once he scored and we were within a field goal. I thought, if we stop them here and get a little luck we can kick a field goal. I have total faith in Brayden Lyday. And we got it.”
A springboard for the Lions?
Vargas called the win bigger than you can imagine.
“We had to have this win. Down by nine. You know the doubt creeps in. What are we going to do if we lose this? But, the kids didn’t (have any doubt). We feel like this is going to be the start of something special.”
Durant, who hasn’t recorded a winning season since 2008, looks to go 2-1 Friday night when Tulsa Rogers visits Paul Laird Field in Durant.