Upson Lee 41 @ Veterans 35 (2OT)
Qauy Reviere: 24 att, 172 yards, 7.2 avg, 3 TD
Kalen Puckett: 8 att, 67 yards, 8.4 avg, 2 TD
Wyquavious Battle: 4 att, 50 yards, 12.5 avg
Markevious Robinson: 11 att, 16 yards
Team: 1 att, -1 yard
Kalen Puckett: 13 att, 8 comp, 74 yards, TD, INT
Quay Reviere: 2 rec, 33 yards, TD
Michael Smith: 1 rec, 19 yards
Wyquavious Battle: 2 rec, 9 yards
Kendarious Traylor: 1 rec, 8 yards
Damian Leonard: 1 rec, 4 yards
Kenny Richardson: 1 rec, 1 yard
Kalen Puckett: 5 punts, 136 yards, 27.2 avg, long of 42
Did You Know???
- Upson Lee’s all-time record against Veterans is now 1-1
- Upson Lee’s record in overtime games is now 7-2
- This is Upson Lee’s first 8-win season since 2005 (9-3)
- Kalen Puckett’s 74 passing yards give him 1,041, his second consecutive 1,000+ yard season
- Quay Reviere’s 172 rushing yards give him 1, 372 for the season, which is 3rd on the UL all-time single season rushing list (1,553 Tyrone Perry in 1993, and 1,501- Corey Moss in 2012)
- Quay Reviere’s 4 TDs give give him 23 for the season, which is now the new all-time UL single season record
- Rich Stewart’s 6 PATs gives him 69 for his career, which is now the new all-time UL career record
- Kalen Puckett’s TD pass give him 22 for his career, which ties him for 1st place on the UL career list (Fred Bussey 2001-2004 & Laquentin Lamar 2004-2007)
- Quay Reviere’s 172 yards rushing gives him 7 games with 135+ yards rushing this season
- Quay Reviere’s 24 points scored, gives him 140 points scored this season, which is a new UL single season record.
- Upson Lee’s record is now 39-0 when scoring 40+ points
Upson Lee @ Veterans Yardstick
1st downs- UL 15, Vet 12
Total rushes- UL 48, Vet 38
Rushing yards- UL 304, Vet 141
Passes att- UL 13, Vet 15
Passes comp- UL 8, Vet 7
Int thrown- UL 1, Vet 2
Passing yards- UL 74, Vet 115
Total yards- UL 378, Vet 256
Punts- UL 5, Vet 5
Punt yard- UL 136, Vet 147
Punting avg- UL 27.2, Vet 29.4
Penalties- UL 9, Vet 1
Penalty yards- UL 53, Vet 5
Fumbles lost- UL 0, Vet 1
Total turnovers- UL 1, Vet 3
Red zone poss- UL 6, Vet 4
Red zone scores- UL 4, Vet 3
3rd downs att- UL 15, Vet 11
3rd downs conv- UL 7, Vet 3
TD rushing- UL 5, Vet 3
TD passing- UL 1, Vet 1
Total TD- UL 6, Vet 5
Points- UL 41, Vet 35
PERRY – Last season Upson Lee was looking for a trip to the state playoffs under first year coach Tommy Parks. However, with UL needing to win their final home game on Senior Night, the Veterans Warhawks came into Matthews Field and snatched away the Knights’ playoff hopes, beating UL 28-26 and putting themselves into post season play.
On Friday night, Upson Lee traveled to Houston County, looking to return the favor. An Upson Lee victory over Veterans and a Howard victory over Baldwin, would knock the Warhawks out of the playoffs, giving Upson Lee the No. 3 seed and Howard the No. 4 seed. The Knights did their part, racking up 304 yards on the ground in a 41-35 double overtime victory over Veterans. Howard on the other hand, was upset by Baldwin 20-13, allowing Veterans to creep into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. The Knights’ victory gave Upson Lee an 8-2 regular season record, their best record since 2005 (9-3), and clinched the No. 3 seed from Region 2 in the state playoffs.
“I am extremely proud of the the way we played out there,” UL Coach Tommy Parks said. “The conditions were a little abnormal. It was humid out there and it took us a while to adjust. We haven’t played in weather that humid in a few weeks. We got down early, but we didn’t panic. We gathered ourselves, and got a very hard earned victory on the road against a very tough team.”
The game started off very shaky for UL in the first quarter. Upson Lee quarterback Kalen Puckett threw his seventh interception of the season. Veterans returned the interception down to the Knights’ 12-yard line. Just three plays later, Veterans QB Logan Byrd plunged in for a three-yard touchdown. The PAT was good, and with 10:05 left in the first quarter, UL trailed 7-0.
On the Knights’ next possession, Puckett made up for his turnover. Upson Lee mounted a 7-play, 62-yard drive, capped off by a 21-yard TD run from Puckett, his first of two rushing touchdowns in the game. Rich Stewart booted the PAT, and the game was tied 7-7.
The Knights defense then stepped up and shut down the Warhawks offense over the next six minutes of the game. After forcing Veterans to punt, Upson Lee took over deep in their own territory. The Knights were then forced to punt the ball back to Veterans, but All-Middle Georgia punter Puckett shanked the ball off the side of his foot, giving Veterans the ball at the UL 25-yard line.
It did not take long for Veterans to capitalize on the good field position. Byrd scored on a 9-yard touchdown run, capping off a 4-play, 25-yard drive. The PAT was good, and with 1:24 left in the first quarter, Veterans led Upson Lee 14-7.
“No doubt the turnover and bad punt hurt us early in the game,” Parks said. “We gave them two short fields and they did what they were supposed to do, but our defense never got down on themselves, and continued to fight, which is something they have done all year.”
With 9:32 left in the first half, Puckett tossed the 22nd touchdown pass of his career, tying Fred Bussey and Laquentin Lamar for the school record. Puckett found running back Quay Reviere on a throw back screen pass. Reveire ran over a defender and spun off another on his way to a 19-yard score. Stewart kicked the PAT, and UL tied the game up a 14-14.
Unfortunately the game would not stay tied for long. On the ensuing kickoff, Isaiah Gray returned the UL kickoff for a 74- yard touchdown return, but the Knights were able to block the PAT, and trailed 20-14 with 9:18 left in the half.
The two teams traded a number of punts over the next several possessions. Upson Lee forced Veterans into a punting situation with just 39 seconds left in the half. That’s when Puckett handed the ball off to Reviere on first and 10 at the Knights’ 34 yard line, and Reviere busted through the line of scrimmage and rumbled down the field for a 66-yard touchdown run. Stewart booted his third PAT of the game, and with just 31 seconds left in the half, UL led 21-20. Veterans took a knee after the kickoff, and the two teams headed into the locker room at the half.
The third quarter was the quiet before the storm for both teams. Neither team was able to scratch a point on the board, but as the fourth quarter started, so did the scoring.
Upson Lee took a 28-20 lead on a 25-yard touchdown run from Puckett. The junior quarterback faked a hand off to Reviere, and scampered down the sidelines for the touchdown. Stewart added yet another PAT, and UL led 28-20.
The Knights defense stood tall on Veterans’ next possession. Upson Lee cornerback Zakarriyan Walker intercepted Logan Byrd’s pass. However, Upson Lee’s drive would stall. Late in the fourth quarter, Upson Lee was forced to punt, and Puckett booted a beautiful punt down to the Veterans four yard line. The Knights defense would push Veterans back to the one yard line, but the Warhawks would eventually earn a first down.
That’s when Byrd led the Warhawks on a 13 play, 99-yard drive. Trailing 28-20, Byrd rolled out of the pocket to his right and found Jaylen Lowder on a 27-yard touchdown pass with just 48 seconds left in the game. The Warhawks then lined up for a two-point conversion. Once again it was Byrd who took the game into his own hands. After faking a hand off, Byrd ran a naked bootleg toward the pile-on near the goal line. It appeared that Byrd’s knee hit the ground around the one yard line, as he stretched out for the goal line. However, the referee stretched both of his arms up high into the night air, and the Warhawks had tied the ball game 28-28.
The two teams headed into overtime, and UL took the ball first at the Veterans 15-yard line. Reviere punched in a one yard touchdown, to give the Knights the lead. Stewart made the PAT and Upson Lee led 35-28. On the Warhawks’ first play of their overtime possession, Logan Byrd ran up the middle untouched for a 15-yard score. The Veterans PAT was good and the two teams headed into double overtime tied 35-35.
Veterans would get the ball first in the second overtime. The Knights defense was stout and forced Veterans into a fourth down situation. Veterans chose to bring out their kicker for a field goal attempt, but it was fake. The Veterans holder took the ball and threw a pass into the end zone. However, senior Donovan King was there for an interception, his fourth pick of the season.
Upson Lee then took over on offense, and just two plays later, Reviere ran in the Knights’ winning touchdown from one yard out, giving Upson Lee the 41-35 victory.
“Our offensive line has done a tremendous job this season,” Parks said. “They have made the biggest improvement since day one, and have helped Upson Lee have a running back total over 1,300 yards. Quay really works hard and does a lot of little things that help us win ball games, not just carry the ball. He also is a great blocker in the running and passing games.”
Reveire finished the game with 172 yards rushing, giving him 1,372 yards rushing for the season. He also has scored 23 touchdowns on the season, a new school record for a single season. Upson Lee kicker Rich Stewart now has converted 69 PATs in his career, which is also a new school record.
Upson Lee will now enter the state playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost to Lovejoy in the first round. The Knights will hit the road for a long trip to Hinesville. Upson Lee (8-2) will play the No. 2 seed from Region 3 the Liberty County Panthers (7-3). Look in Friday’s edition of The Times for a full game preview.
Wes McCard can be contacted at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.