Friday's night playoff game between the Barton Bears and the Lamar Warriors was not for the faint of heart. The contest was not decided until the final horn sounded. The Bears finally prevailed 26-24.
The teams matched each other touchdown for touchdown. What turned out to be the deciding factor in the contest was two successful extra points by Justin Wilson. The Warriors failed to convert any of their extra point attempts.
After all the smoke cleared, Barton advanced to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs and will travel to Hoxie to take on the Hoxie Mustangs.
Barton got off to a fast start, driving the ball all the way to the Warrior 9 before turning the ball over on downs. Lamar was unable to dig out of the hole and shanked the punt giving the Bears excellent field position again – this time at the Warrior 17.
With 4:22 left in the opening quarter, Chajobie Fulcher hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Laquarius Hall. Wilson sailed his first extra point kick straight through the uprights to give Barton a 7-0 lead.
Just seven seconds later, Lamar ended Barton's shutout when Braxton Sampley connected for the first of his four touchdown passes on the night. This play covered 48 yards.
Lamar missed the first of what turned out to be four crucial conversion attempts.
The Warriors got the ball back immediately following an on-side kick but the drive stalled and Lamar turned the ball over on downs. Leading 7-6, Barton went to the air once again. Hall's target this time was Justice Cole, who hauled in the pass and raced 64 yards for the score with 1:15 left in a rapid fire first quarter.
It took Lamar just 40 seconds to respond when Sampley tossed a 64-yard scoring strike. The Warriors again pulled within a point when they failed to run in the 2-point conversion.
With Barton leading 13-12 at the end of the first quarter it appeared as though it was going to be a shootout. However, the defenses rose to the occasion through most of the second quarter and all of the third.
Barton scored again just one minute into the second quarter. Fulcher pulled in Hall's third TD toss of the night. The play covered 28 yards. Wilson added his second successful extra point. The Bears led 20-12. The score would not change again until the final quarter.
For the next 24 minutes, the Bear defense effectively shut down the Warrior running game. The Barton offense played well enough to keep the Lamar defense on its heels.
Barton managed to drive to the Lamar 9 and with 4:01 to go in the second quarter, Wilson narrowly missed a 26-yard field goal attempt.
Defense dominated the third quarter. This time it was the yellow flag that hindered Barton's offense. The Bears turned the ball over only once, on a fumble. Barton immediately capitalized on Lamar's turnover when Cole added to his career interception total with a pick.
Page 2 of 2 - Lamar closed the gap to 20-18 just four seconds into the final quarter on a 20-yard Sampley TD pass. Again, the 2-point conversion failed.
Lamar had at least two more opportunities but the drives ran out of gas as they turned the ball over on downs.
Fulcher gave the Bears a little breathing room when he scored from a yard out with 1:14 to play. Wilson's kick was blocked but the Bears were up 26-18, though it was technically still a 1-possession game.
The Warrior refused to throw in the towel. An excellent return on a short kick off had Lamar setting up shop at the Barton 40 with 54 seconds remaining in regulation.
Sampley completed the drive with a 6-yard touchdown toss with just seven seconds remaining. A great Barton defense effort stopped the Warriors just shy of the goal line on the 2-point conversion attempt.
Lamar got the ball back on an onside kick. However, the Warriors failed on two shots at the end zone from 45 yards away.
The Warriors finished the 2013 gridiron campaign at 9-2. The Bears, also 9-2, survive to play another Friday night.
Barton was a slight underdog entering Friday's contest as The Associated Press had picked the Warriors to win by one point.