In a game that was highly charged with emotion, Jamari Goodman came up with the play of the game to lead host Hales to a 20-12 double-overtime victory over Catholic League Red rival Leo with his only catch of the game.
Facing a fourth and goal from the 16-yard line, Donovan Jenkins lobbed a ball to the left corner of the end zone that saw Goodman out-jump his defender and cradle the ball away for the Spartans (1-1, 1-0).
”I knew I could catch it all along,’’ Goodman said. “I just went up and got it.’’
It was the only ball thrown to the junior wideout the entire game. Hales coach Randall Townsel didn’t even plan on playing Goodman till later in the season since he had missed summer football while playing AAU basketball.
“Jamari scored thirty touchdowns as a sophomore and junior so we knew he could do it,’’ Townsel said. “ We knew they would double-team Joe Morrow so we went to Jamari.’’
The game was a hard-fought defensive battle with the Lions (1-1, 0-1) leading 6-0 until late in the fourth quarter. That’s when an incident broke out along the sidelines between Hales and Leo fans. It was the second incident of the game and this one directly affected what happened on the field of play.
Leo linebacker LeVern Johnson spotted his mother in the middle of a scrum along the sidelines and immediately tore his helmet off and ran to go and defend her. His teammates and people along the sideline stopped him but the senior was penalized and ejected from the game for removing his helmet on the field.
“The player’s mother was getting hit and he reacted to it,’’ Leo coach Michael Holmes said. “That hurt us but it also hurt that we didn’t put them away when we had a chance.’’
The penalty moved the ball to the Leo 14-yard line where Dale Johnson used three consecutive carries to bull over defenders and tie up the game with 53 seconds left on a 4-yard run.
Yenka Sykes scored for Hales in the first overtime and Leo tied it up on a 15-yard touchdown from Latrell Giles to Kerron Bragg on fourth down.
Leo forced four first half turnovers and had the ball in Hales territory on all five first half possessions but came away with just one score — a one yard sneak by Giles midway through the second quarter.