GILMER -- Cade Hyman was looking only to get the first down. As he turned the corner, he soon realized he would have much more.

Hyman saw open field down the right sideline, sprinting his way from midfield to the end zone. The touchdown gave Mount Vernon its first lead and was the final scoring play in the Tigers' 32-26 victory against Tatum in the 3A Division I Region 2 bi-district game Thursday evening.

“We had great blocks the whole way down," Hyman said. "I was just doing whatever I could and a touchdown came of it. Best feeling ever.”

The run accounted for more than half of Hyman's 98 yards. Mount Vernon did the majority of its damage on the ground, with 314 of its 343 yards coming from rushing.

"(Hyman)’s had that potential all year long," coach Josh Finney said. "He’s done it and done it. He’s a workhorse that we keep going to. Our offensive line, we rotated in nine linemen tonight. They just keep firing off. Not many people do what we do anymore.”

It wasn't all good for Mount Vernon, though. The Tigers fumbled three times during the third quarter alone and trailed 26-10 entering the fourth.

Their opening drive ended with a fumble at the goal line that would have been the go-ahead touchdown. Although Tatum wouldn't score off that opportunity, it would get another chance when Mount Vernon fumbled again on the ensuing drive. The Eagles had a short field, taking over at the Mount Vernon 31. Jachais Jenkins envetually scored an 11-yard touchdown to put Tatum up, 20-10.

The Tigers also fumbled the drive after that, with Ty Hollins returning it 25 yards to put the Eagles up two scores, though the extra point was missed. At this point, Mount Vernon's fate seemed sealed.

“All of us seniors were pushing everybody to keep going," Hyman said. "When it was 26-10, we all knew it was not looking good. We didn’t want that to be it. We just kept pushing and got everyone on the same page.”

The Tigers drove into Tatum territory before the third quarter ended. Only 44 seconds into the fourth, Kason Pletcher scored on a 29-yard keeper after a fake hand off to Adolfo Rodriguez. Hyman scored the two-point conversion to make it 26-18.

Mount Vernon now turned to its defense. It got the job done, forcing Tatum to punt on the following drive. Xander Redar made perhaps the play of the game, blocking the punt and allowing Braden Bolin to scoop it up and take off. He was tackled at the 7 and Pletcher scored on the next play.

Although the two-point conversion to tie failed, there was a sense among the Tigers that, with 9:45 left, this game was theirs.

“That was the turning point right there," Hyman said. "That’s when we all knew we had the chance.”

After yet another stop from the Mount Vernon defense, Hyman scored. However, there was 2:12 left on the clock after his touchdown. Tatum drove to about midfield before the drive stalled with OB Jones coming up just a yard shy of the first down on fourth-and-4.

"It’s a rollercoaster of emotions after being down that much in the fourth quarter," Finney said. "That’s a tribute to my kids. They won’t quit. They had every reason to quit. We fumbled in the end zone. We keep scratching and clawing and making plays. I’m so proud of them boys.”

Kason Pletcher finished with 120 yards on 20 carries, 29 yards passing and three total touchdowns. OB Jones led the Eagles with 126 yards passing and two total touchdowns.

Mount Vernon advances to the area round where it will the winner between Van Alstyne and Madison on Friday.

Mount Vernon 32, Tatum 26

At Jeff Traylor Stadium, Gilmer

Mount Vernon      3    7    0    22         --    32
Tatum       7     6   13   0             –    26

First Quarter
TAT – Jachais Jenkins 52 catch from OB Jones (Ismael Vasquez kick), 11:00.
MV – Adrian Diaz 35 field goal, 6:05.
Second Quarter
TAT – Jones 1 run (PAT blocked), 7:21.
MV – Daniel Arnold 28 pass from Kason Pletcher, 1:46.
Third Quarter
TAT – Jenkins 11 run (Vasquez kick), 4:08.
TAT – Ty Hollins 25 fumble recovery (PAT failed), 2:39.
Fourth Quarter
MV – Pletcher 29 run (Cade Hyman two-point), 11:16.
MV – Pletcher 7 run (two-point failed), 9:45.
MV -- Hyman 50 run (Trey Hornea two-point), 2:12.

                                           MV                   TAT
First Downs                          16                       7
Total Yards                           343                     167
Rushes-Yards                  52-314                 28-41
Passing Yards                       29                  126
Comp.-Att.-Int.                 2-4-0              8-13-0
Punts-Avg.                          0-0                3-48.0
Fumbles-Lost                         5-4                  0-0
Penalties-Yards                     6-50              9-85

RUSHING—Mount Vernon, Kason Pletcher 20-120, Cade Hyman 10-98, Adolfo Rodriguez 13-59, Max Rutledge 6-31, Colby Lindley 2-10, Team 2-(-4). Tatum, Decartiyay Allison 9-35, Ty Hollins 8-26, Jachais Jenkins 3-7, OB Jones 8-(-27).
PASSING—Mount Vernon, Pletcher 2-4-0--29. Tatum, Jones 8-13-0--126.
RECEIVING—Mount Vernon, Daniel Arnold 1-28, Hyman 1-1. Tatum, Jenkins 3-76, Allison 4-30, Trey Fite 1-20.

More From East Texas Sports Network