It took double overtime for the Cyclones to prevail 13-10.
“They believed in themselves,” Ottawa coach Rob Hedrick said. “They believed in the way they prepared. The senior leadership. It all came together. They stayed together. They played so hard.”
Ottawa needed several plays to win the game. The winning play came from a freshman. Quarterback Isaac McCullough was flushed from the pocket and got out of trouble and calmly threw a pass to Kord Ferguson in the end zone on third down from the 3.
Ferguson went low and caught it for the touchdown.
“Isaac made the play,” Hedrick said. “That is why we put Kord out there. That young man makes plays. We wanted to give Isaac the option to run. He runs like a deer.”
Ottawa was on the ropes in the first overtime after fumbling the ball. De Soto was setting up for a game-winning field goal.
“There were so many turnovers in that game,” Hedrick said about Ottawa’s four fumble recoveries. “We knew they were setting up for the field goal after they stopped us in the first overtime. The boys came up with another big turnover.”
Ottawa needed a touchdown to win. On first down, Andre Lewis went six yards to the 4.
“The 0-line was so physical,” Hedrick said. “We asked so much of them. We thought the way they were blitzing and coming off the edge we kept trying to work the middle. We never popped one. We got enough in overtime.”
Lewis got a yard on second down to set up the dramatic winning play.
McCullough made a big play on Ottawa’s other touchdown. He picked up a fumble and ran 20 yards for a score late in the first half to tie the game at 7-7.
“Isaac made a bunch of big plays,” Hedrick said. “Andre will be a good running back. We have played him so many positions. The O-Line and D-Line were monsters. I am so happy for them.
“The defense pitched a shutout. Unbelievable defense. Giving up a field goal in the second overtime. That is pretty darn good.”
Ottawa (2-0, 1-0) plays Friday at Louisburg.
“We expected to be here,” Hedrick said. “That was our goal.”