WILLARD, Mo. — Neosho mounted a second-half comeback and came oh so close to securing its first victory of the season.

But Willard escaped with a 27-20 overtime victory over the Wildcats on Friday night in a Central Ozark Conference nail-biter on the Tigers’ field.

Neosho (0-8, 0-8 COC) trailed 20-7 at halftime as Corbin Thomason blocked the extra point after Willard’s third touchdown.

The Wildcats pulled within one score on quarterback Logan Whetzell’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Drayke Perry in the final minute of the third quarter, and Yeison Vasquez kicked the extra point.

Perry scored again on a six-yard run with 2:06 remaining in the fourth period for a 20-20 deadlock, but Vasquez’s extra point was blocked.

Willard (2-6, 2-6) had first possession in overtime, and the Tigers’ 25-yard scoring drive was capped by Owen Bushnell’s four-yard run.

Neosho’s overtime series ended on an interception.

The offensive statistics were just as close as the score. The Wildcats ran 51 plays for 266 yards, and Willard had 58 snaps for 267 yards.

Neosho’s Jared Siler’s 44-yard run four minutes into the first quarter gave the Wildcats their first lead of the season. Siler was a workhorse, finishing with 31 carries for 230 yards. In addition to his touchdown, he also broke a 48-yard run.

Bushnell ran 22 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns for Willard. Tyler Janes ran for a score and completed 6-of-11 passes for 60 yards. Kanin Keller scored on a short run and had 79 yards on six carries.

Neosho concludes the regular season next Friday at home against Joplin.

Willard27Neosho20