Wildcats gave up too many big plays in loss to Spencer

Published 11:20 pm Thursday, September 12, 2019

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COLUMBUS, GA – The Schley County High School football team (SC) traveled to Columbus to take on the Green Waves of Spencer High School (SHS) on Thursday, September 12, at Kinnett Stadium. They were hoping that having a week off would have them refreshed and ready to play against the Green Waves. However, the Wildcats gave up too many big plays in this game. The Green Waves (2-2) scored at least three touchdowns that went for 35 yards or more en route to a 35-21 victory over the Wildcats.

SC head coach Darren Alford sited poor tackling as the main reason why the Wildcats gave up so many big plays. “We didn’t tackle. When you don’t tackle, the other team is going to score touchdowns,” Alford said. “We didn’t do a good job at all.” Alford told his team after the game that they will beat other teams this season because of their talent, but in order to achieve the goal of winning a region championship, they will have to work harder.

SC outside linebacker Tyler Vickery tries to put pressure on the SHS quarterback.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Wildcats won the toss, but elected to defer until the second half. Neither team could score on their first few possessions, but the Wildcats were able to get on the scoreboard first. They used a steady running game to move the ball down inside the Green Waves’ territory. Running back Zamon Ross would eventually score a rushing touchdown from four-yards out. The extra point by Demarkis Clark was good, and the Wildcats led 7-0 near the end of the first quarter.

In the middle of the second quarter, the Wildcats had the ball, but running back Trent Bivins fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Green Waves. SHS was able to take advantage of the turnover on their next possession. After a holding penalty and a chop block penalty, the Green Waves were backed up to their own 28-yard line. However, quarterback Quay Stephens threw a long pass to James Smyre at the SC 34-yard line.

Schley County running back Zamon Ross (8) scores the opening touchdown of the game against Spencer.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

A few plays later, Stephens found Smyre all alone in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was good and SHS had tied the ball game at 7-7.

On their next offensive possession, the Green Waves pulled ahead when running back Quran Hoskins broke through the SC defense and ran 43 yards for another SHS touchdown. The extra point was good and the Wildcats found themselves trailing 14-7 at halftime.

The Wildcats got the ball to start the second half, but were not able to mount a drive. However, the SC defense forced a fumble, which was recovered by Tyler Vickery.

SC defensive end Zykevious Walker (10) tries to make a play against the Spencer offense.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The SC offense immediately went to work by orchestrating a ball-controlled drive that resulted in a short touchdown run by Bivins. Clark’s extra point was good and the game was tied 14-14.

However, the Green Waves countered with another big play. On second and 10 from the SHS 37-yard line, Hoskins broke free for a 63-yard rushing touchdown to put SHS back on top 21-14 with 5:02 left in the third quarter.

However, the Wildcats struck back with a big play of their own. The SHS defense forced them into a fourth down situation, but the Wildcats decided to go for it. On fourth and three from the SHS 40, running back Landon Dailey ran the ball 40 yards for a Wildcat touchdown. Clark’s extra point attempt was good and the game was tied once again at 21-21.

Schley County wide receiver Jacob Long (43) makes a great catch along the sidelines.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Once again, however, the Green Waves had an answer. They were able to move the ball down to the SC 23-yard line. Then Stephens threw a short pass to Hoskins, who ran it into the end zone for another SHS touchdown. The extra point was good and the Green Waves had retaken the lead 28-21 with under two minutes left in the third quarter.

The Green Waves added to their lead a few minutes later when running back Khalil Hawkins broke through the SC defense and scampered 39 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good and just like that, the Wildcats found themselves down 35-21 in the fourth quarter.

SC defensive tackle Zavian Solomon (41) tries to get by his blocker to get to the quarterback.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

However, with under five minutes to go, the SC offense was able to move the ball down inside the SHS 20-yard line. After a couple of running plays, the Wildcats were able to get the ball down to the SHS five-yard line. However, the Green Waves’ defense was able to force a fourth and goal situation from the SHS six-yard line, prompting Alford to call a time out with 1:37 remaining in the game. This was the ball game here. The Wildcats had to score here to have any realistic shot at a come-from-behind win.

However, on fourth down, quarterback Garrett Peavy’s pass into the end zone was incomplete and the ball was turned over to SHS on downs.

This allowed the Green Waves to take a couple of kneel-downs to run out the clock and earn the 35-21 victory.

The Wildcats (1-2) will try to rebound from this setback when they travel to Hawkinsville, GA on Friday, September 20, for a Region 4-A match up against the Red Devils of Hawkinsville. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.