Wildcats’ comeback v. Crawford falls just short; Schley drops 25-24 decision
Published 10:40 am Wednesday, October 26, 2016
By MICHAEL MURRAY
ELLAVILLE – The Schley County Wildcats football team took on their final Region 4A-B opponent of the season on Oct. 21 in Ellaville in a contest that pitted the ‘Cats against the Crawford County Eagles.
Despite a valiant comeback effort, the Wildcats succumbed to an early surge from the visitors, eventually taking a 25-24 loss.
With the defeat, the ‘Cats drop to 2-6 overall while the Eagles jump to 4-3.
The Eagles wasted little time showing the hosts that they meant business in the match-up, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Down 7-0, the Wildcats broke their silence with mere seconds left in the first half when place kicker, Reid Ragsdale accurately booted a 25-yard field goal, narrowing the gap to four points before the intermission.
Much to the chagrin of the home fans, the Eagles expanded their advantage on the opening kickoff of the second half, making a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. An errant PAT attempt left the Eagles up 13-3 as the third quarter commenced.
The Wildcats responded five minutes later when Clint Ragsdale burst Crawford’s defenses from the one-yard line. Ragsdale again divided the posts on the PAT attempt, narrowing the gap to 13-10 with 7:10 left in the frame.
On the return drive, the Eagles made up for lost ground with a 56-yard touchdown rush. The Wildcats stopped the visitors’ two-point conversion attempt, holding the Eagles to a nine-point lead at 19-10.
Five minutes into the final frame, Crawford added an insurance touchdown to their tally, breaking through from the one-yard line. Another failed PAT attempt left the visitors’ tally at 25 points, where it would stay for the remainder of the match-up.
The Wildcats weren’t finished, however, and refused to give up without a fight.
Sellars scored on a short rush two and a half minutes later. Schley quarterback, Will Barry, connected with receiver, Zykievious Walker, to cinch the two-point conversion and build momentum for the home team.
With one minute left to play, Wildcat receiver, Marquell Sims, pulled in a 20-yard pass from Barry in the end-zone.
With the Schley crew down by one point, local fans watched with bated breath as the team lined up for the extra point kick which could potentially send the game into an overtime round. For the first time that evening, Ragsdale’s kick missed its mark, leaving the Wildcats with a one-point deficit at the final buzzer.
In total, the Wildcats covered 326 yards in the contest, with 178 being obtained through the air on Barry’s 14 completions.
Dartavious Napper led the way for the team’s receivers, snagging two receptions for 59 yards. Ragsdale and M. Sims each contributed 39 yards on two and three catches, respectively. Christian Arnett added another 28 yards on his sole catch of the game, followed closely by Walker, who pulled in two passes for 24 yards.
Calvin Sims led the team on the ground, gaining 41 yards on five carries, followed by Alec Harris who also toted the ball five times for 33 yards. Sampson contributed another 26 yards on eight totes and Barry added another 25 yards on seven attempts.
Napper, Sampson, Wade Rogers, and Demarco Cross set the pace for the team’s defense, with each player landing five solo tackles and two assists. Walker stopped four runners on his own and contributed to four more. Jonathan Thornton and Jake Hall took down four and three opponents, respectively, unaided. Cameron Dailey snagged an interception for the Schley cause and Napper recovered a fumble for the ‘Cats. Walker and Thornton each broke up Crawford passing attempts.
The Wildcats return to action on Oct. 28, heading into sub-region competition to host the St. Anne-Pacelli Vikings. The Vikings enter the contest with a 1-7 overall record and will be looking to improve upon that in the match-up.
The Wildcats assuredly have the same idea in mind of making last-minute improvements to their record over their old region foes.
In the teams’ last 10 meetings, the Wildcats have won five tilts. The ‘Cats also held the Vikings to a 0-0 tie in 2011.