After spending the previous two days between the bathroom and the bedroom with flulike symptoms, Hephzibah's Bobby Liggins said he felt worn out Friday night.
The senior linebacker wouldn't have had it any other way.
The Rebels celebrated their biggest win of the season after lineman Lavorious Beasley stuffed Chris Hartfield's two-point conversion run in overtime to secure Hephzibah's 14-13 win over No. 10 Lakeside.
"The victory makes you feel great," Liggins said.
At 4-1 overall, the Rebels are off to their best start under fifth-year coach John Bowen. Hephzibah remained tied with Richmond Academy atop the Region 3-AAAA standings at 4-0.
"We know that we beat a good team, and we have several good teams still left on the schedule that we're going to have to beat," Bowen said. "None of them are going to roll over for Hephzibah. But 4-0 in the region is nice."
In a game pitting a pair of defensive juggernauts, offense was hard to find. Lakeside totaled 123 yards and Hephzibah had 121 -- including Liggins' 2-yard scoring run in the first half, the first touchdown the Panthers' defense had allowed all season.
Lakeside rushed for minus-23 yards in the first half before a late-game surge. Hartfield gained 52 yards on eight second-half carries. Mark Weidenaar rushed once on a 50-yard bootleg that knotted the game at 7 with 10:26 remaining.
After committing five turnovers, four in the first half, Lakeside (4-1, 3-1) looked like it would save itself and keep its perfect season alive. Late in regulation, the Panthers drove from their own 22 to the Hephzibah 30.
On second and 6, Liggins blew through the line and hit Hartfield for a 4-yard loss. Then, with 53 seconds remaining, Lakeside followed with a delay-of-game penalty which pushed the ball back to the 39 and out of field-goal range.
"You had two great defenses playing hard," Bowen said.
In overtime, Hephzibah got the ball first and took the lead on Terry Robinson's 12-yard scoring pass to Shaquille Wheeler in the back of the end zone. Dustin Dekert added the extra point.
Lakeside responded with Weidenaar's 15-yard touchdown pass to Ricky McMurtrey on the Panthers' first play. Lakeside lined up for the tying extra point, but Hephzibah jumped offside. After a timeout, Lakeside lined up just outside the 1 for the two-point conversion try. Rebels lineman Kwame Collins blew through the right side of the line and hit Hartfield, and Beasley wrapped him up at the 2, sending Hephzibah fans into euphoria.
"The kids wanted to go for it and we felt like we could get a yard," Lakeside coach Jody Grooms said. "They made a great play. They got some penetration. The one thing we couldn't let them do, they did."
"We showed what we really have," Collins said. "That play was a heart-stopper."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or email@example.com.
HEPHZIBAH 14, LAKESIDE 13 (OT)
PLAY OF THE GAME: Hephzibah's Kwame Collins and Lavorious Beasley broke through the right side of the line and stuffed Lakeside's Chris Hartfield on a two-point conversion in overtime.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Terry Robinson . The sophomore quarterback went 8 for 14 passing for 70 yards, including the game-winning pass to Shaq Wheeler in overtime.
WHY HEPHZIBAH WON: Defense. The Rebels held Lakeside to 123 total yards.
WHY LAKESIDE LOST: Turnovers. The Panthers did all they could to overcome five turnovers, but one of them set up Hephzibah's lone touchdown in regulation.
WHAT'S NEXT: Lakeside (4-1) at Richmond Academy, 7:30 p.m. Friday; Hephzibah (4-1) at Glenn Hills, 7:30 p.m. Friday.