MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon football team rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and took a late lead, but Thomas More College scored in the final minute to beat the Hawks 38-35 on Saturday.
Huntingdon scored twice in the final nine minutes as Michael Lambert connected with Hunter Huckbay for a 15-yard touchdown and Otis Porter for a 41-yard touchdown. Porter's touchdown gave Huntingdon a 35-31 lead with 2:43 remaining.
But the Saints answered and scored the winning touchdown with 50 seconds left in the game.
Records: Huntingdon (0-2); Thomas More (3-1)
The Turning Point: Trailing 31-21 with less than nine minutes to play, Huntingdon scored twice in a six-minute span. Lambert's 41-yard touchdown pass to Porter gave the Hawks their first lead of the game with 2:43 to play.
The Saints responded with a seven-play, 79-yard drive to win the game. Thomas More capped the drive with a 10-yard run with 50 seconds to play.
Huntingdon attempted one final drive but a pair of Thomas More sacks closed out the game.
Notable Performance: Receiver Otis Porter tied the Huntingdon record for touchdown receptions in a game with three on Saturday. Porter finished with five receptions for 153 yards and three touchdowns. The touchdown strikes covered 22, 62 and 41 yards.
Porter is the sixth Hawk to catch three touchdown passes in a game and the first since Zach Camp caught three against Methodist in 2016.
With the three touchdown receptions on Saturday, Porter pushed his career total to 21 and now ranks third in Huntingdon history behind Cody Pearcy (25) and Jacob Godwin (22).
Passing: Michael Lambert: 16/29 for 319 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
Receiving: Otis Porter: 5 receptions for 153 yards, 3 TDs
Colton Chinn: 4 receptions for 70 yards
Hunter Huckbay: 15-yard touchdown reception
C.J. Pugh: 38-yard touchdown reception
Rushing: Eric Thomas: 19 rushes for 122 yards
Kobe Smith: 8 rushes for 90 yards
Kicking: Chase Young: 5/5 PAT
1) With 11 tackles on Saturday, linebacker Trey Hayes moved into third place in the Huntingdon record book for career tackles with 245. Former linebacker Granger Shook holds the Huntingdon record with 289 and former defensive back Keith Anthony is second with 254.
2) Saturday was the third meeting between Huntingdon and Thomas More and the first since 2006. The two teams first played in 2004 in what was the first game at Charles Lee Field. The Saints won the first meeting 37-36 in overtime.
Head Coach Mike Turk on Saturday's loss: "We didn't tackle very well today and we made some critical mistakes on both sides of the ball. Defensively, we had guys in position to make plays and we just didn't make the tackles. Offensively, we had opportunities and we did not take advantage of them.
"I was really proud of how we fought back, took the lead late and gave ourselves a chance to win the game. But when it's all said and done, we didn't do enough things over the course of the game. It all came down to their last possession. But, had we done some things better along the way, it wouldn't have come down to that. That is what's disappointing."
Turk on continuing to move forward: "I've told the guys I still believe there is a bright future for this team. We're starting conference play next week and if we handle our business within the conference, we can accomplish what we want.
"We're disappointed and hurting right now, but we have to find a way to bounce back and come back to work like we have the past two weeks. My hope is that we continue to come to work with the right attitude each day. If we do, we have a chance to be pretty good."
Coming Up: Huntingdon opens USA South Athletic Conference play on the road at Methodist on Sept. 29. Kickoff is set for noon (Central).