It was a heavyweight fight to kick off October.
Hampton erased a 16-point halftime lead but was unable to complete a second rally as South Greene held on for a thrilling 28-22 victory in Region 1-2A play in front of a playoff atmosphere at JC Cambell Stadium on Friday night.
It was Hampton’s first defeat of the season.
The game lived up to the billing from the opening kick.
Morgan Lyons – who made his return for the first time this season after being injured in the preseason – intercepted a Rebel pass on the first offensive play of the game as the Bulldogs were in business at midfield.
In just three plays, Conor Jones scored on a 38-yard run as the Bulldogs took an early 6-0 lead.
South Greene, however, got things going and took their first lead of the night when Levi Myers hit Jalen Ingram for a 29-yard touchdown and Myers added the two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs marched into SG territory on the next drive but were stopped on fourth down as the first quarter ended with South Greene holding an 8-6 advantage.
South Greene opened the quarter in the second quarter as Myers broke free for a 26-yard run to the pylon and added the two-point conversion again to push the SG lead to 16-6.
After an interception, South Greene pushed the lead to 22-6 as Clint Lamb caught a 34-yard pass from Myers.
Hampton threatened late in the second quarter but was unable to cut in the Rebel lead.
The Bulldogs went to work quickly in the third quarter.
Hampton used nearly half the third quarter on the opening drive of the half and closed within a score when Lyons scored on a three-yard run. Jones added the two-point conversion.
On the ensuing kick, the ball bounced off the hands of a Rebel defender and Lyons jumped on the ball to keep South Greene off the field.
With momentum, Hampton quickly moved down the field and tied the game with a three-yard touchdown and the two-point conversion from Jones with just over three minutes to play in the quarter.
South Greene got its offense on the field after the ensuing kickoff – nearly 50 minutes after they had kneeled out the half. The Rebels converted a 3rd-and-14 to close out the quarter as the game went into the final 12 minutes tied at 22-22.
South Greene made some timely plays to keep the drive alive and regained the lead when Myers scored on a four-yard run.
The Hampton offense went back to work to try and even the score, but was stopped on fourth down inside the South Greene 15 to turn the ball over on downs.
After the Rebels quickly moved to midfield, Hampton recovered a fumble, but the next play was an interception for the Rebels.
The Bulldog defense pinned their ears back as they forced a punt with 1:22 left in the game.
Hampton took over at their own 18, and Jones hit Lyons and Point for timely completions as Hampton quickly moved to midfield and eventually to the SG 25 in the closing seconds.
The Bulldogs were unable to hit a pair of throws to the endzone before time expired.
Jones finished the game with 16 carries for 146 yards, while adding 50 yards on 5-of-14 passing.
Lyons had 36 rushing yards on seven carries and also added three catches for 31 yards
Levi Lunsford and Ryan Crumley had 33 and 32 rushing yards, respectively.
Myers finished the game with 115 yards on 24 rushes, while he went 14-of-16 passing 151 yards.
Lamb had six catches for 68 yards.
Hampton is set to return to action next Friday night with a road trip to Gatlinburg-Pittman.
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