DUNLAP — Big Mo didn’t know where to go.
In what was simply a great high school football game, Plymouth came up with one more big play than Concord Friday night and beat the Minutemen, 31-28 at Jake Field, to force a four-way tie at the top of the Northern Lakes Conference.
Concord’s Ryan Tepe missed a tough 42-yard field goal with 11 seconds to play that would have forced overtime. However, Tepe’s miss came only after the Minutemen lost 16 yards after having a first-and-goal at the Plymouth nine.
“We hadn’t had a bad snap all night and then we had two in a row inside the 10,’’ Concord coach Tim Dawson said. “But what can you do? Our kids fought hard and played well, we just came up a little short.’’
The momentum swung from one side of the field to the other all evening, as the lead changed hands six times, including twice in the fourth quarter.
Concord used the big play to stay in the game against the ball-control offense of the Rockies.
The Minutemen scored on a 89-yard kickoff return from Jerrell Pointdexter, a 72-yard run from halfback DuWhan Alford and a 52-yard scamper from junior quarterback Trevor Wilmore.
“That is one explosive offense,’’ Plymouth coach John Barron said. “Concord’s offensive line did a great job opening holes and our guys on the perimeter struggled tonight. Plus you have to remember that Alford is just a beast.’’
The Eastern-Michigan bound Alford carried the ball 21 times for Concord for 201 yards and his score. Wilmore, who played all but two snaps in the second half in relief of starter Ryan McKibbin, added 152 yards on 19 carries.
Wilmore scored on a three-yard run with 10:37 to play in the fourth quarter to give Concord a 28-24 lead.
But as they did all night, the Rockies came right back, as quarterback Ike Kastner drove the team downfield with runs of 19 and 25 yards. Kastner would finish the drive with a seven-yard scoring run with 7:49 to play.
After the teams traded punts, Concord started their final drive at their own 38 with just over four minutes to play.
With Alford and Wilmore trading carries and pounding a tiring Plymouth line, Concord reached the Rockie nine with a first down after a short run by Wilmore.
Unfortunately for the Minutemen, the next two snaps from center to Wilmore in the shotgun bounced and the quarterback lost six yards. Then on third-and-goal, Plymouth linebacker Ethan Sampson sacked Wilmore for a 10-yard loss, forcing the final field goal attempt by Tepe.
Perhaps the game’s biggest play also came off a field goal attempt — this one coming in the third quarter.
Tepe was set up for a 30-yard field goal late in the third quarter that would have given Concord a seven-point lead. However, Plymouth’s Deandre Pickford burst through the line untouched, blocked the kick with his chest and picked the ball up on one hop. Pickford rambled 49 yards before being dragged down by Dakota Simon on the Minutemen 34.
Eight plays later, senior fullback Sam Stevens scored from eight yards out to tive Plymouth the lead.
“That’s the kind of play we’ve been waiting for from Deandre,’’ Barron said. “I can’t even tell you how big a play that was in the game.’’
Plymouth threw the ball just two times, but one of those was a 51-yard touchdown pass from Kastner to Dakota Brooke to open the scoring. Ironically, the usually high-flying Concord offense finished the same 51 yards passing as Plymouth, although they made up for it with 343 yards on the ground.
“We figured Plymouth worked hard on our passing game all week, so we wanted to change things up a bit and use Wilmore to run the football with Alford,’’ Dawson said. “With Wilmore and MKibbin, we have a two-headed monster at the quarterback spot.’’
Plymouth, Concord, NorthWood and Warsaw are tied for the top spot in the NLC.
Plymouth 31, Concord 28
Scoring by Quarters
Plymouth 7 10 7 7 — 31
Concord 7 7 7 7 — 28
School — Scoring Play
P — Dakota Brooke 51 pass from Ike Kastner; Jacob Frants kick, 4:18.
C — Jerrell Pointdexter 89 kickoff return; Ryan Tepe kick, 4:03.
P — Frantz 30 field goal, 9:40.
C — DuWhan Alford 72 run; Tepe kick, 9:14.
P — Kastner 2 run; Frantz kick, 5:44.
C — Trevor Wilmore 52 run; Tepe kick 10:38.
P — Sam Stevens 8 run; Frantz kick, 0:47.
C — Wilmore 3 run; Tepe kick, 10:37.
P — Kastner 7 run; Frantz kick, 7:49.
Officials: Dave Spencer, Mike Grenert, Don Bella, Jim Weinberg, Tom Holobyn.
Team Statistics Pl Co
Net yards rushing 260 343
Net yards passing 51 51
Total Yards 311 394
First Downs 13 16
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-0
Penalties 2-16 5-45
Plymouth: Rushing — Sam Stevens 19-98, Ike Kastner 24-82, Justin Drudge 5-64. Passing — Kastner 1-2-51. Receiving — Dakota Brooke 1-51.
Concord: Rushing — DuWhan Alford 21-201, Trevor Wilmore 19-152. Passing — Wilmore 1-2-12, Ryan McKibbin 2-6-39. Receiving — Adam Glanders 2-45, Dakota Simon 1-6.