Senior running back Gavin Lessley scored midway through the fourth quarter to rally Pillow Academy to a 26-21 win over Kirk Academy Friday night in Grenada.
The Mustangs found themselves in a slugfest with the Class 4A Raiders, who fall to 2-3 overall. Kirk, which had won its last two games, took a 21-20 lead by the end of the third period after trailing 20-7 at the half.
Pillow’s defense stood up to the challenge in the final six minutes to keep Kirk out of the end zone.
Lessley, who finished with 74 hard-earned yards on 17 carries, scored the go-ahead touchdown at the 6:20 mark of the fourth period.
Pillow’s ground game had 262 yards on 48 carries. The Mustangs picked up a total of 12 first downs, and they finished with 298 yards of total offense. Quarterback Nelson Hodges was 4-of-4 for 36 yards.
Kirk also had 12 first downs as it had 159 yards rushing and 72 passing for a 231 total. The Raiders could only convert 1-of-9 on third downs.
Pillow senior cornerback Richard McQueen picked off a pass at the 9:39 mark of the first period and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. Juan Carlos Hernandez was true on the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Almost five minutes later, the Mustangs got into the end zone one more time in the opening quarter as Hodges raced in from 32 yards out. Hernandez kicked the point after for a 14-0 advantage.
Kirk scored at the 1:42 mark of the second period to pull with 14-6, but Pillow tacked on one more touchdown right before the half on a five-yard TD run by Lessley. The point after failed, leaving the score at 20-6.
The Raiders scored twice in the third leading up to Lessley’s game-winner.
Hodges led the ground attack with 151 yards on 17 carries. Christian Belk had seven carries for 43 yards.
Lawes McCool led the defense with 12 tackles, and Britt Reichle had 11 total tackles.
Pillow entertains conference foe Heritage Academy next week.
• Contact Calvin Stevens at 581-7234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.