Wildcats send strong message in drubbing of Taylor County

Published 7:48 pm Saturday, September 11, 2021

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BUTLER – The Schley County Wildcats (SCHS) sent a powerful message to Taylor County and the rest of their opponents in Region 5A-Public on Friday night, September 10 at Taylor County High School (TCH). The Wildcats used their swarming, tenacious defense to force the Vikings into committing four turnovers on fumbles. This domination by the defense continued for the rest of the game and it gave the offense more chances to score. It was a recipe for total domination and it led to the Wildcats’ 55-0 shellacking of the Vikings to open region play.

SCHS freshman running back Zayden Walker carried the bulk of the load for the Wildcats on offense.  Walker rushed for 139 yards on seven carries and scored four rushing touchdowns. Walker’s teammate, junior running back Malachi Banks, also had a productive night on the ground. Banks rushed for 101 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown.

SCHS freshman running back Zayden Walker rushed for 139 yards on seven carries and scored four rushing touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 55-0 shellacking of Taylor County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

On the defensive side of the ball, senior defensive end Quentin Edwards tallied 11 tackles to lead the SCHS defense, while senior middle linebacker Sidney Blackwell and junior outside linebacker Luke Forehand each had 10 tackles on the night. Forehand also recovered a fumble and ran the ball back for a touchdown in the second half. In addition to his 10 tackles and fumble recovery for a touchdown, Forehand and his younger cousin,  sophomore outside linebacker Sam Forehand, each had one sack in the ball game. Sophomores Carson Westbrook, Trenton Stubbs and freshman Hank Arrington made the other three fumble recoveries for the Wildcats.

While the Wildcat defense made the opportunistic plays and the offense cashed in, according to SCHS Head Coach Darren Alford, it was a tremendous effort by the entire team and he knows that there is still a long way to go.

“I’m proud of the boys. They’re playing hard and they’re doing what we ask them to do,” Alford said. “They work hard at practice. The coaches that I have are awesome. They do a great job. I couldn’t ask for a better situation right now than what we have. Everybody is working toward the same goal and when people work together, great things can happen and we’re going to take it one day at a time and then one week at a time and see what is going to happen. Our kids are playing at a high level right now and I’m excited about what we’re doing on the field.”

The Wildcat defense was able to shut down the TCH offense for much of the first half and forced three TCH turnovers on fumbles. These turnovers, in turn, gave the SCHS offense the opportunities it needed to put points on the board quickly and often.

To put it simply, it was total domination on both sides of the ball by SCHS.

The Wildcats opened the scoring with 8:51 to go in the first quarter when Walker scored his first of four touchdowns from 15 yards out. The extra point by Javier Lopez was good and SCHS led 7-0.

Then with 5:20 to go in the first quarter, SCHS quarterback Jay Kanazawa connected with Clinton Jackson for a 49-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was blocked, but the Wildcats maintained a 13-0 lead. SCHS committed one turnover in the first half when Kanazawa’s pass was tipped and intercepted, but that turnover did not hurt the Wildcats, as the defense continued to stifle the Vikings’ offense and would force three first half turnovers that led to points for SCHS.

SCHS junior wide receiver Clinton Jackson caught two touchdown passes in the Wildcats’ win over Taylor County.
Photo by Kaia McLennan

With 3:48 left before halftime, SCHS struck again when Walker scored his second rushing touchdown from 19 yards out. As Lopez was about to kick the extra point, a penalty was called against TCH, allowing SCHS the opportunity to go for two. Walker was able to score the two-point conversion and the Wildcats led 21-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, SCHS was able to recover one of three fumbles by the Vikings in the first half and wasted no time in cashing in. Not long thereafter, Kanazawa and Jackson hooked up again, this time for 22 yards. The extra point by Lopez was good and SCHS expanded its lead to 28-0. Then with less than two minutes left before halftime, the Wildcats capped off their dominating first half performance when running back Malachi Banks scored a rushing touchdown from 19 yards out. The extra point by Lopez was good and SCHS led at halftime 35-0.

The onslaught continued in the second half, as SCHS would not let up.  Early in the third quarter, Walker scored the third of his four touchdowns on the night when he scored from 16 yards out, making the score 41-0 SCHS.
The Wildcat defense continued to wreak havoc on the TCH offense in the second half and forced another fumble.  Luke Forehand recovered the fumble and ran the ball back for another SCHS touchdown. The extra point by Lopez was good and the Wildcats extended their lead to 48-0.

SCHS sophomore running back Sam Forehand rushed for 26 yards on three carries against Taylor County.
Photo by Kaia McLennan

However, SCHS was still not done, as Walker would later score his fourth and the Wildcats’ final touchdown of the night on a 42-yard run from scrimmage to cap off the SCHS domination of the Vikings.

Up next for SCHS (3-0, 1-0 in region play) is a date with their region archrivals: the Eagles of Marion County. Kickoff from Wildcat Stadium is scheduled for Friday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m.