ORE CITY — Step two in the Ore City Rebels’ quest for a district championship wasn’t without drama.
The Rebels spotted the Big Sandy Wildcats 21 points before rallying with 28 unanswered to capture a thrilling 28-21 victory on Thursday.
Ore City improves its overall slate to 7-0 for the first time in school history and 2-0 in District 9-2A Division I play. Big Sandy drops to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in league action.
Senior Demontrae Neal rolled up 145 yards and scored once while senior quarterback Colten Allshouse added 72 yards and two touchdowns. It was a 1-yard keeper by Allshouse with 3:26 left to play that completed the Rebel rally.
The Rebel comeback started late in the second quarter when Neal’s 32-yard run found the end zone with 2:50 left in the half. Neal had sparked the four-play, 60-yard drive that used only 1:04 of the play clock with a 15-yard run two plays earlier.
Ore City proved its own worst enemy in the first quarter with penalties nullifying two touchdown runs of 54 by Nick Hughes and 31 from Neal.
Big Sandy, meanwhile, was building a surprising 21-0 lead.
Kameryn Cuevas capped a 10-play, 52-yard drive to open the contest with a 2-yard dash at 8:20 of the first period.
The Wildcat defense turned the Rebels back on downs on the ensuing possession and proceeded to go a 66-yard scoring drive. Junior quarter Preston Beason pushed his way in on a 4-yard keeper at 2:17.
A blocked punt by the Big Sandy special teams set in motion the next Wildcat score. Beason did the honors once again from five yards out at 3:59 of the second period. Beason, who finished the night with 129 yards rushing on 23 carries and 97 yards passing, was critical in the eight-play, 62-yard drive that used 3:19 of the game clock.
Big Sandy was primed to go up 28-7 when Allshouse stepped in front of a Beason pass on the goal line and sprinted 100 yards to the house. The 14-point swing cut the Rebel deficit to 21-14 with 8:07 left in the third.