WELCH – Big-time players make big-time players and Tony Bailey made not one but two big-time plays for Mount View.
The senior wide receiver turned a four-yard pass into a 55-yard touchdown on a third-down play to break a 6-6 tie and lift No. 5 Mount View to an 18-6 victory over No. 12 Sherman in the first round of the Class A playoffs Friday night at Vic Nystrom Stadium.
Bailey, who ran an out route on the play, came down with the reception and stayed inbounds as the Sherman defender’s momentum carried him out of bounds. Bailey then cut across field and outraced the defense for a 55-yard score with 3:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“I knew he wasn’t going to tackle me,” Bailey said. “Once I saw that he was out of bounds I knew it was going to be a foot race and I wasn’t going to be caught.”
Bailey wasn’t done as he returned a fumble 50 yards for his second touchdown just 18 seconds later.
The Tide thought they had an 18-yard completion from quarterback T.J. Hager to Colby Buzzard, but Bailey caught up to Buzzard and stripped him of the football at the 50 and raced down the sideline with 2:54 remaining in the contest.
“Defense changed the whole game and after that play they lost all pride,” Bailey said. “I knew I had to make that play. He came out and cleared the outside and I watched him catch it, but after he secured it I just ripped it out and took it back 50 yards.”
The play seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for the Tide, who fought hard and gave the Golden Knights all they could handle and then some.
Earlier in the season Mount View defeated Sherman, 44-18, on Oct. 1 at Sherman, but this matchup was different as the Tide were able to contain the Golden Knights’ speed for nearly 45 minutes until Bailey’s two big plays.
“We knew they were going to make plays,” Sherman coach Kevin Buzzard said. “We were in a defensive battle for three and half quarters, but they just made the plays in the fourth quarter.”
On the night, Bailey caught seven passes for 114 yards for the Golden Knights.
“He is a playmaker and I tell him that all the time,” Mount View coach Maurice Gravely said. “He wants the ball all the time and he kept asking for the ball and he lived up to his word.”
Sherman took the opening kickoff and marched 78 yards in eight plays, consuming 3:02 of game time and taking a 6-0 lead on C.J. Winnell’s 4-yard touchdown run with 8:58 to play in the opening quarter.
After the teams exchanged punts, the Tide forced a turnover in Golden Knight territory but Hager was stopped on a 7-yard run at the Golden Knight 22-yard line with 5:45 to play in the opening quarter.
Mount View responded with 10-play, 78-yard drive to tying the contest at 6-6 courtesy of. 1-yard run by QB Ryan Long with 21 seconds left.
Sherman mounted a second quarter drive, but Hager was intercepted by Johnathan Huff at the Mount View 16 with 8:17 to play in the opening half.
Winnell rushed for 149 yards on 24 carries for Sherman while Buzzard added 77 yards on 13 carries. Ryan Skeens ran for 45 yards on five attempts and Hager completed 4-of-12 passes for 47 yards.
“Offensively we had a great game plan, we planned hard, coached hard and our coaches planned hard all week,” Buzzard said. “These kids didn’t quit, and we had a couple of turnovers but we they didn’t quit.”
Sherman, which made the playoffs for the first time since 2018, finishes the season with a 6-5 record.
“We done what we set out to do which was make the playoffs,” Buzzard said. “We came up short last year by a slim margin and we got this year.”
The Golden Knights playing in their first ever home playoff game at Vic Nystrom Stadium overcame 16 penalties to improve to 10-1 and move onto the Class A quarterfinals next week.
“We played a little bit flat tonight, but again with all do we stepped up when we had to,” Gravely said. “I am not pleased but I am excited that we won this game.”
With 2:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, a fight broke out near the Sherman sideline that resulted in the ejection of three players. Sherman’s junior offensive linemen Jared Butcher and Mount View linebacker Travis Bell and defensive and offensive lineman Christopher Goins.
“It is a shame that it had to end like that because both teams are great,” Buzzard said. “I hate for those kids that got threw out because that is two key players for them and they are not going to get to play next week.”
Butcher will have to set out Sherman’s first game of the season next year while Bell and Goins will miss Mount View’s quarterfinal contest next week.
“Those are two studs, and we will have to find a way to replace them,” Gravely said. “Maybe some magic will come about, and somebody will step up and says it’s my turn to shine in the bright lights.”
Mount View, winners of nine straight, will face either No. 4 Ritchie County or No. 13 Clay-Battelle. If Ritchie County wins then Mount View will hit the road for the quarterfinals, but Mount View would host if Clay-Battelle were to win.
“We got a lot of adjustments to make against whatever team we face,” Gravely said. “We got guys injured, we got guys ejected and won’t be playing and I am sure that is going to be a huge loss.”
“Whatever team we face next week will be glad to hear that,” Gravely said. “We got to keep our composure.”
Mount View 18, Sherman 6
Sherman 6 0 0 0-6
Mount View 6 0 0 12-18
S- Winnell 4 run (pass failed), 8:58
MV- Long 1 run (kick failed), 0:21
MV- Bailey 55 pass from Long (run failed), 3:14
MV- Bailey 50 fumble return (kick failed), 2:56