High school football: Airline loses heartbreaker

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In the last 11 years, the Airline Vikings have suffered some tough losses to the Byrd Yellow Jackets.

In 2012, the Jackets kicked a field goal on the game’s final play to win 31-30 and deny the Vikings the outright district title. Byrd defeated Airline twice in 2008 and 2011, including two playoff victories.

But Friday night’s loss may have been the toughest. The Vikings fell to the Yellow Jackets 36-34 in three overtimes.

The game ended regulation tied at 15.

In the first overtime, Airline’s Nate Fullilove caught a TD pass from Brad Fream and the PAT gave the Vikings a 22-15 lead. But the Jackets answered and sent the game into a second OT tied at 22.

Byrd went on offense first and scored. Airline’s Jaylyn Thomas blocked the PAT, so the Vikings took the ball needing a TD and conversion to win. Fream hit Malik Britt for the score, but the extra-point try was blocked. The game went into a third OT tied at 28.

Airline again took the lead in the third OT on a Fullilove catch. In high school football, teams must attempt a two-point conversion after the first two overtimes. The Vikings’ try for two failed, leaving them ahead 34-28.

Airline kept the Jackets out of the end zone on the first three plays. On fourth down, Carson Dunn went back to pass. The Vikings put pressure on him and Dunn was forced to run. He barely made got the ball into the end zone to tie it at 34. Javien Wilson’s conversion run ended the game.

Airline dropped to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in District 1-5A. The Vikings visit parish rival Parkway (8-1, 4-1) in the regular-season final this Friday. The Panthers routed Southwood 48-6 Friday night.

Byrd improved to 4-5 overall and 3-2 in district. The Yellow Jackets, who will compete in the select Division I playoffs, close the regular season against Evangel (7-2, 5-0).

Airline entered the game No. 19 in the Class 5A power rankings, which determine playoff seedings. The Vikings need to finish 16 or higher to host a first-round playoff game. That took a hit with the Byrd loss, but Airline could move up several spots with a win over Parkway.

Airline got off to a great start as Cameron Davis raced 78 yards on the game’s opening play. He eventually scored on a 2-yard run. The PAT made it 7-0.

Byrd answered later in the quarter and it was tied at 7 going into the second. The Jackets picked up a safety when they sacked Fream after downing a punt at the Airline 3.

Byrd led 9-7 at the half. The Jackets drove almost the length of the field in the third quarter to go up 15-7, but the conversion failed.

Fream led the Vikings down on the field, completing a couple of nice passes and scrambling for good yardage. Airline converted a fourth-and-14 on the drive. Zylon Newson’s TD run and conversion tied it at 15 late in the third.

Airline missed a couple of scoring opportunities near the end of each half.

According to stats kept by The (Shreveport) Times, Davis led Airline with 120 yards rushing. Fream completed 13 of 25 passes for 129 yards.

— Staff Reports