Tarik Travis (28) and Brady Burse (12) of Olive Branch check the sideline for the call during Thursday’s 87-86 triple-overtime victory over DeSoto Central. The score became the highest scoring game in state history and fifth-highest in national history.
By Bob Bakken
Leslie Pool Field in Olive Branch has seen plenty of exciting football games in the course of its history, but it had never seen anything like what it experienced Oct. 8 when DeSoto County rival DeSoto Central came to tackle the Conquistadors in a 6A-Region 1 battle.
The scoreboard standing at the end of the stadium, which is also unique by not identifying “Visitors” or “Home,” but rather “Y’all” and “Us,” also has not been worked over as much as it was in the Conquistadors’ 87-86 triple-overtime victory over the Jaguars.
The result, now considered the highest-scoring high school football game in Mississippi history and fifth-highest scoring contest in national history, according to the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), likely left everyone exhausted, from the players and coaches to fans, statisticians… everyone.
It was nothing they had ever seen before or experienced before.
“It was probably a four-and-a-half hour game, but everything just happened so fast,” Olive Branch coach Steve Buckley said. “As a coach, you’re just thinking about the next play and the next series. It was just one of those unbelievable games that I’ve never been a part of, never seen, and hope I never am a part of another like that.”
It was a crazy game, but Buckley said his sideline still kept focus on the task at hand and not the constantly-changing scoreboard.
“Honestly, everybody was calm,” Buckley said. “But, it was 243 plays in a ball game and there was no time to rest your brain at all. It was constant movement the whole ball game.”
A high-profile star in the game did what was expected of him, as DeSoto Central senior running back Alan Lamar nearly single-handedly willed his Jaguars to victory.
Lamar rushed for 421 yards on 59 carries and nine touchdowns for DeSoto Central. The senior tied a state record with the number of rushing touchdowns.
Lamar did more than just run the football, however, taking a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and throwing an 18-yard strike to Keshunn Abram for another score.
Lamar’s name was involved in 11 of the 12 touchdowns scored by DeSoto Central.
On the other side, Olive Branch found plenty of ways to keep pace. Quarterback Brady Burse threw for 354 yards and eight touchdowns and running back Tarik Travis ran for 200 yards and three scores.
Buckley has been high all year on the progress Burse has made leading the team.
“Sometimes it takes a little while to totally understand what you are trying to accomplish offensively and how we attack people,” Buckley said. “Every week, Brady is starting to understand our offense more. Not only Brady, but our receivers also.”
The receiving tandem of Jay Banks Jr., T.J. Moore and Jaylon Gale together caught a combined 16 passes for 349 yards and seven touchdowns in the game.
Several records were set by both sides after the game. Olive Branch official statistician Greg “Buz” Phillips listed seven Quistors’ team records eclipsed, one team record tied and two individual records set.
Burse’s 354 passing yards and eight touchdowns are new school records.
The Conquistadors tied a school record for 13 scoring plays (12 touchdowns and a field goal).
Team records set included most points by the Quistors, by an opponent and combined, combined first half points, most players with 100 or more pass receiving yards, combined total offense yards by two teams and combine all-purpose yardage by two teams.
Through all that, the difference came down to one play, however, as the Olive Branch defense stopped Lamar short of the goal line on a two-point try following a touchdown in the third overtime to end the game.
With it, the “Y’all vs. Us” scoreboard at Leslie Pool Field likely echoed a huge sigh of relief after having reflected in its lights such a historic battle between two DeSoto County rivals.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.