Michael Concilio is in his 14th season as head coach of the Bossier Bearkats. He has seen a lot of close games and outstanding efforts during that time.
But he said few matched what he witnessed Friday at Memorial Stadium.
After rallying from an early deficit, Concilio’s Bearkats earned an emotional 26-23 overtime victory against the Loyola College Prep Flyers.
“One of the best games I’ve ever coached at Bossier High school, probably top top three,” Concilio said. “Just real excited. I’m proud of them, more proud than I’ve been in a long time.”
Bossier, which had to cancel its second and third games of the season because of a COVID-19 issue, improved to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in District 1-3A. Loyola dropped to 1-3 and 0-2.
With the score tied at 20, Loyola went on offense first in overtime. The Bearkats forced a successful field-goal attempt and the Flyers led 23-20.
D’Angelo Garner scored the winning touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Coleman Beeson on third-and-goal.
“Hats off to Coleman Beeson,” Concilio said. “I know it’s easy to give props to the quarterback. Hats off to him on a crucial pass right there, finding an inside slot open.”
Concilio said the biggest difference in Friday’s game and the Bearkats first two was the play of the defense.
“Our defense played so solid, just played so tough,” he said.
Loyola had a couple of scoring opportunities end with missed field goals, including one with just two seconds left in the first half. The second one came after a drive stalled at the Bossier 20 in the third quarter.
Loyola jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bearkats held the Flyers to a field goal after losing a fumble at the Loyola 8.
Loyola scored a touchdown with 5:09 left in the quarter. It was starting to look like Bossier’s first two games when the Bearkats fell into deep holes in the first half.
But Bossier responded with an 11-play drive that took six minutes off the clock.
Garner, who battled injuries his freshman and sophomore seasons, made two big plays. He caught a 36-yard pass from Beeson and ran for the score on third-and-goal from the 9.
Jorge Alfaro’s PAT made it 10-7 with 1:32 left in the half.
The Bearkats’ Jermarcus Wilson then recovered a fumble. Bossier didn’t let the opportunity go to waste. Beeson hit Jalen Thornton with a short pass and he turned it into a 40-yard touchdown. The PAT was blocked.
There was no more scoring until the fourth quarter. Loyola tied it on a 37-yard field goal with 7:51 left.
The Flyers got the ball back, but the Bearkats defense came through again. Makhi Tanner picked off a pass and returned it 60 yards for a TD. Bossier led 20-13 with 4:42 left in the game.
Loyola didn’t back down, though, tying the score on a TD with 2:21 left.
The victory avenged a 35-28 loss to Loyola last season.
It was also satisfying on another level. Because of the two cancellations and quarantining due to COVID-19, Bossier has had only 15 practices, including four this week, since its scrimmage.
“It takes Bossier High a while to get going,” Concilio said. “This is just like Week 3. That’s it.”
It was also the Bearkats’ final regular-season home game. Because of the eight-game season and subsequent cancellations, Bossier ended up with only two home games.
Beeson, one of 14 seniors honored on Senior Night, completed 11 of 16 passes for 171 yards.
Roderick Francis led the team in rushing with 84 yards on nine carries. In addition to his big TD catch, Thornton had 74 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Garner had three catches for 45 yards and 28 yards rushing on seven carries.
Francis had two catches for 30 yards. Tanner had three for 25.
Bossier visits Mansfield on Friday. The Wolverines (1-3, 0-1) fell to Green Oaks 34-28 Friday night.