Wildcats finish regular season with rout of Greenville on Senior Night
Published 11:03 pm Thursday, November 3, 2022
ELLAVILLE – On a special Thursday night on which numerous seniors from the football team, the cheerleading squad, the girls softball team and the marching band were honored for their accomplishments over the past four years, the Schley County Wildcats made the night even more special with a 52 – 6 drubbing of the Greenville Patriots (GHS) on Thursday evening, November 3 at Wildcat Stadium.
Before the season began, SCHS Head Coach Darren Alford requested that this game be played on Thursday so that he and his staff could go and scout potential playoff opponents on Friday, November 4.
The victory puts SCHS at 8-2 overall on the season and, having already won the GHSA Class A Division 2 Region 6A Championship, the Wildcats finish the regular season undefeated in region play at 6-0.
“I thought we played hard tonight. I thought every series, our kids did well,” Alford said. “We didn’t execute a few things that we were trying to do early, but we made some adjustments and after that point, I felt like we were able to do just about anything that we wanted to do. I was excited for our young kids to get out there and play a good bit in the second half. I thought they did good. Some of those guys are going to be on the field next year, so we want to make sure they get as much time as they can,” Alford continued.
Neither offense could get anything going on their first possessions, but the Wildcats came up with a turnover when GHS quarterback Taquavious Cameron’s pass was intercepted by SCHS free safety Carson Westbrook. The Wildcat offense took advantage when quarterback Jay Kanazawa threw a pass to Clinton Jackson. The senior WR then broke a tackle and scampered all the way down to the GHS seven-yard line.
However, just as it looked like the Wildcats were going to score, Kanazawa’s pass into the end zone was intercepted by the Patriots’ Miguel Owens for a touchback.
Fortunately for SCHS, the defense would force another turnover on a fumble and the Wildcats would have the ball back. Kanazawa was flagged for intentional grounding, but would shortly thereafter pull a rabbit out of his hat on the next play. As he was about to be sacked, Kanazawa threw a pass into the end zone and wide receiver JaLewis Solomon was able to out jump his defender and catch a touchdown pass.
The extra point by Miguel Yanez-Rueda was good and the Wildcats led 7-0.
Later on in the first quarter, SCHS mounted another scoring drive that led to a seven-yard rushing touchdown by Malachi Banks. Yanez-Rueda’s extra point was good and SCHS led GHS 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Wildcats had the ball at the GHS 25-yard line on second and one when Kanazawa threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Sam Forehand. After a penalty was called against the Patriots on the extra point try, the Wildcats decided to go for two and Banks ran the ball into the end zone for the two-point try. With 10:59 to go before halftime, SCHS led 22-0.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats forced another turnover as Kyler Dupre recovered a fumble. However, the Wildcats gave the ball right back to the Patriots on a fumble. Fortunately for SCHS, the defense was able to stop the Patriots’ offense and got the ball back for the offense with 8:35 left before halftime.
The Wildcats had the ball at the GHS 38 yard line to start another drive. However, SCHS turned the ball over again when Kanazawa’s pass bounced off the hands of Malachi Banks and ended up in the hands of Taquavious Cameron, who is also a cornerback for the Patriots. The SCHS defense almost forced another turnover, but forced the Patriots to punt on fourth down.
On their first play from scrimmage, the Wildcats struck again with another big play when Kanazawa connected with Carson Westbrook, who ran the ball all the way down to the GHS one-yard line. Malachi Banks then scored a rushing touchdown from a yard out and Yanez-Rueda’s extra point was good, giving the Wildcats a 29-0 lead with 6:02 to go before halftime.
The SCHS defense continued to neutralize the Patriots’ offense and the Wildcat offense continued to make big plays as Kanazawa threw a 48-yard pass to Jackson near the GHS 25 yard line. Shortly thereafter, Banks ran the ball down to the one-yard line and would then score his third touchdown of the night. The extra point by Yanez-Rueda was good and SCHS led 36-0 with four minutes left before halftime.
Once again, the Wildcat defense forced the patriots into a fourth down situation and GHS turned the ball over on downs deep in its own territory. Then on first and 10 from the GHS 10, Banks ran the ball down to the one-yard line and scored his fourth touchdown of the night on the next play. Yanez-Rueda’s extra point was good and SCHS led 43-0 with 1:37 to go before halftime.
The Patriots were able to move the ball into SCHS territory on their next possession, but Westbrook came up with his second interception of the night. That gave SCHS an opportunity to put more points on the board, which they did. On the Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage, Kanazawa threw a long touchdown pass to Solomon. Yanez-Rueda missed the extra point, but the Wildcats led GHS 49-0 at the half.
With the big lead, Alford was able to put in his backups in the second half to give them valuable experience. SCHS continued to make plays on defense as Jack Clark intercepted a pass deep in GHS territory, giving the wildcats another opportunity to score. The SCHS offense was stopped on its first three downs, but Yanez-Rueda booted a 30-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 52-0 lead with a running clock in the second half.
The Patriots were able to move the ball down into SCHS territory when Cameron ran the ball several yards before being tackled by SCHS middle line backer Hank Arrington to end the third quarter. However, the Wildcat defense stopped the Patriots on four downs and got the ball back for the offense.
On their next possession, the Wildcats kept the ball on the ground and got production from junior running back Kyler Dupre, who was able to move the ball up close to midfield. However, on third down and four from the SCHS 44, the Wildcats fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Patriots’ Martavious McGhee. McGhee then ran the ball down inside the SCHS 10. GHS would later score a touchdown, but SCHS sophomore free safety Conner Rhyne intercepted the pass on the two-point try to end the game.
The Wildcats will host their first round state playoff game next Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. Depending upon Friday night’s results, SCHS will host either Hancock Central, Georgia Military College or Wilkinson County.