This Record-Setting Texas Football Game Went to 12 Overtimes
Halloween Weekend Football Game
On Friday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m., a kick-off started the football game at Dragon Stadium between Nacogdoches and Jacksonville. It would take 5 hours and 24 minutes before a 19-yard field goal in the twelfth overtime would give Jacksonville the win, 84-81.
I was doing radio play-by-play on KTBQ that night for the Nacogdoches Dragons. The plot twists and bizarre decisions that happened that night seemed only appropriate on this Halloween weekend.
The Set Up
Jacksonville came into the game with a 5-1 district mark, while the Dragons were barely staying alive in the playoffs chase with a 2-4 record.
A win would give the Tribe a berth in the upcoming playoffs and a chance to take the district championship the following week. Meanwhile, Nacogdoches had to win the game by at least 8 points to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Jacksonville jumped out to an early 14-point lead, which meant a 22-point deficit for Nacogdoches and their playoff hopes. However, early in the second quarter, the Dragons managed to tie the game at 14-14.
Later in the first half, Nacogdoches trailed 21-14, but the Dragons were driving and trying to tie the game before halftime. However, a pick-six late in the second would give Jacksonville a 28-14 lead at the break. It didn't look good for Nac.
The Nacogdoches defense stiffened in the second half, and their offense managed to tie the game at 28 with most of the fourth quarter still to play. However, neither team was able to put up any more points and the game went into overtime.
Once again, Nacogdoches had to win by 8 points in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. This scenario set in motion numerous crazy twists in the overtimes to come. If Jacksonville scored, Nacogdoches needed to exactly match it. If Jacksonville didn't score, the Dragons needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
In the first overtime, Jacksonville would get a touchdown, but the conversion failed. Nacogdoches would also score a TD, but they purposely missed the extra point since a one-point victory would do them no good.
The teams would match touchdowns again in the second OT, and then in the third and fourth OTs, neither team would score.
The fifth overtime was a copy of the first with Jacksonville scoring a TD and failing on the conversion, and Nacogdoches doing the same.
There was a glimmer of hope for Nacogdoches in the sixth overtime as they scored a TD and had the chance to take an 8-point lead with the 2-point conversion. However, the conversion failed, as it did for Jacksonville after they tied it up with a TD of their own.
The seventh OT saw both teams score six points, then in the eighth OT, Nacogdoches finally got a touchdown AND two-point conversion. They had their 8-point lead, they just needed to hold Jacksonville scoreless. But, the Tribe would put up their own TD and then Nacogdoches let them score the two-point conversion to tie up the game.
Another crazy twist happened, this time in the ninth overtime. Jacksonville would kick a 31-yard field goal. That meant that if the Dragons wanted to keep their playoff hopes alive, they needed to forget about the touchdown and match the three points. Nacogdoches would kick a 25-yard field goal and the game headed to a national record tenth overtime.
Neither team scored, and both teams put up six points in the eleventh overtime. So, we then advanced to the twelfth and final overtime period.
By the time the game had reached the fourth overtime, the word was starting to spread. People who did not even have a dog in this hunt realized the record-setting drama that was playing out, and they glued themselves to the radio broadcasts.
The number of cars and persons along the fence at the north end of the stadium continued to grow. We heard that many folks had gone to other football games, long since over, and were now wanting to catch a glimpse of this historic matchup.
The Final Overtime
Nacogdoches would get the ball first at the opponent's 25-yard line in the twelfth overtime, but the Dragons would fail to score. Jacksonville drove to the 2-yard line on their possession and scored the game-winning field goal from 19 yards out.
Final Score: Jacksonville 84 - Nacogdoches 81.
Nacogdoches would run a total of 106 plays from scrimmage, and Jacksonville ran 113. The Dragons gained a total of 725 yards to the Tribe's 602.
In 2014, the two teams would play a five-overtime game. Jacksonville would once again prevail.
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Gallery Credit: Danny Merrell