#1-ranked Wildcats defeat Early County to improve to 2-0
Published 9:38 pm Saturday, September 2, 2023
ELLAVILLE – The Schley County Wildcats (SCHS) showed why they are ranked #1 in the GHSA Class A 2 Division Friday night, as they struck early and were able to neutralize the offensive attack of Early County (EC) throughout the game. As a result, the Wildcats went on to defeat the Bobcats 30-0 on Friday, September 1, at Schley County High School.
As far as SCHS Head Coach Darren Alford was concerned, preparation was the key for his club’s success in this game.
“We had two weeks to prepare for them so we kind of had the upper hand on that and we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time working on their scheme and the things that they like to do and our defense got it. They understood it and they executed our game plan exceptionally tonight.” Alford said.
The Wildcats won the toss and elected to receive to start the game. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bobcats tried an onside kick, but a flag was thrown for illegal touching. This gave the ball to the Wildcats near the EC 40-yard line. It only took a few plays for SCHS to get on the board, as quarterback Jay Kanazawa threw a touchdown pass to JaLewis Solomon. The extra point by Miguel Yanez was good and the Wildcats had an early 7-0 lead with 11:14 to go in the first quarter.
On EC’s first possession, the Wildcats forced and recovered a fumble, putting the offense back in business deep in EC territory. Then Kanazawa scored on a quarterback keeper. The extra point by Yanez was good and just like that, the Wildcats had doubled their lead to 14-0 with 10:46 to go in the first quarter.
On the Bobcats’ next possession, they finally were able to get a drive going and were able to move the ball into SCHS territory. However, a holding penalty against EC pushed them back into their own territory. The Bobcats were able to move the ball into SCHS territory, but the Wildcats were able to get the ball back, as EC failed to get the necessary yardage on fourth and six.
On the Wildcats’ next possession, they once again were able to move the ball deep into EC territory, as Kanazawa gained the necessary yardage on third and one.
Then after a roughing the passer penalty was called against the Bobcats, the Wildcats had the ball down near the goal line, but SCHS could not convert on fourth down and the ball was turned over on downs to EC.
On EC’s next possession, the Bobcats were able to move the ball across midfield and into SCHS territory, but an illegal man down field penalty, coupled by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the Bobcats back near their own 40-yard line. Then on the next play from scrimmage, Trenton Stubbs made a big hit on he ball carrier and forced a fumble. Wyatt Halstead recovered the fumble and the Wildcats were poised to put more points on the board, as they were down near the goal line. SCHS was assessed a holding penalty, but that didn’t stop Kanazawa from throwing a touchdown pass to Kendall Sims. The extra point by Yanez was no good, but the Wildcats led 20-0 with 9:58 to go in the first half.
The Wildcats quickly got the ball back, as they tried a pooch kick that went the necessary 10 yards and recovered the ball. Kanazawa then ran the ball on a quarterback keeper and was run out of bounds late. A personal foul penalty was called against the Bobcats, which moved the ball further into EC territory.
However, Kanazawa’s pass into the end zone was intercepted by the Bobcats Jamarion Price.
EC was able to move the ball down to the Wildcats’ 35-yard line. Then on third and five, encroachment was called against the Wildcats, resulting in a first down for the Bobcats at the SCHS 30. However, the SCHS defense forced a four and out and got the ball back on downs.
Neither team was able to score any more points for the remainder of the half and by halftime, the Wildcats led 20-0.
The Bobcats received the ball to start the second half and were able to move the ball down near the SCHS 20-yard line. However, on fourth and six, the Wildcats were able to stop the EC offense and got the ball back on downs for the offense.
This gave the Wildcats a chance to mount another scoring drive. Thanks to some hard running by running back Jeremiah Rogers and a quarterback keeper by Kanazawa, the Wildcats were knocking at the door of the end zone once again.
Kanazawa then ran another quarterback keeper, but was hit late, which resulted in a penalty. However, the drive bogged down and the Wildcats had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Yanez. With 3:28 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats led 23-0.
However, just as the Bobcats thought they were going to mount a scoring drive, the SCHS defense forced and recovered another fumble, giving the offense another chance for more points. However, the drive bogged down again and the Wildcats had to turn it over on downs.
Even though the SCHS offense was struggling to score in the second half, the defense continued to make plays and was able to keep the Bobcats off the scoreboard.
On the next SCHS possession, Kanazawa was able to find JaLewis Solomon, who made a sensational catch along the sidelines. A few plays later on third down and three, Kabreon Aldridge ran the ball down near the goal line. However, the Wildcats committed a holding penalty and a block in the back penalty that pushed them back near the EC 20. However, to the SCHS offense, 20 yards was nothing to overcome, as Kanazawa threw another touchdown pass to Solomon. The extra point by Yanez was good and SCHS led the Bobcats 30-0 with 8:02 left in the game.
On EC’s next possession, the Bobcats were able to move the ball down inside the SCHS 20-yardline, but once again, the SCHS defense rose up and forced a four and out, giving the ball back to the offense with just under five minutes to play.
At this point, all that the SCHS offense needed to do was to keep the ball and to run clock and it did both of those things. By the time zeros were on the clock, the Wildcats had a 30-0 victory.
SCHS (2-0) will travel to Cochran, GA next Friday night to take on Bleckley County (2-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.