Part VIII in a series counting down the 10 most memorable performances in the history of Tommy Oliver Stadium
Mosley wasn’t lacking for motivation when when Pine Forest came calling for a rare Saturday night high school football game.
How could it be? Pine Forest had claimed back-to-back state championships, won 31 consecutive games and not only was ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, but No. 1 in the nation by USA Today.
Then there was no small matter of the previous meeting at Tommy Oliver Stadium between the schools. The Dolphins then bragged a No. 2 state ranking and were mentioned in the national poll, only to suffer a narrow defeat.
This time they were ready, and the Eagles and head coach Jerry Pollard knew it.
“It’s the toughest 5A district in America,” Pollard said prior to the kickoff. A brief comparison of the teams foreshadowed a bruising defensive battle.
Pine Forest, 7-0, had allowed only five touchdowns all season and an average of 143 total yards per game. Mosley, 6-1, had yielded seven TDs and an average of 159 yards.
The difference in the Dolphins’ 10-0 upset win was that their defense was the stingiest one on this night. Sophomore tailback Fred Trammell added 107 yards rushing and the game’s lone touchdown.
The deciding factor, however, was Mosley’s kicking game.
Christian McCarter had a field-goal attempt blocked in the first half, but even with John Lovett substituting for injured long snapper Chris Forehand was able to open the scoring with 8:36 left in the game on a 35-yarder.
It was McCarter’s 48-yard punt late in the third quarter, downed at the Pine Forest 2, that set up a brief scoring drive that featured only one first-down run by Trammell.
On Pine Forest’s ensuing possession, Mike McGuire and Stacey Bowick teamed to stop Eagles quarterback Ronnie Sonnier on third down. The Dolphins took over at their 15, and with 5 minutes left Mosley coach George Cochran called for a rare quick kick by quarterback Kevin Nichols on third down.
It caught Pine Forest by surprise, and shifted field position to the Eagles’ 35 when Nichols’ punt traveled 55 yards. On first down, Sonnier was jarred by Charles Williams and Joe Wright recovered his fumble for Mosley at the 32.
Shortly thereafter, Trammell got free, bounced off a hit by preseason all-America linebacker Lateef Travis at the 16, and completed a 21-yard scoring run with 2:55 left.
LaRhann Rogers intercepted Sonnier on the Eagles’ final possession and Mosley’s celebration began.
“We knew we would need a near-perfect game,” Cochran said. “We had to execute and we did.”
Mosley didn’t have a turnover and didn’t commit a single penalty during the second half. Pine Forest was limited to 132 total yards.
Next: In No. 2, this time the winner gained only 100 yards.