#1-ranked Wildcats dominate #2-ranked Macon County
Published 1:47 pm Monday, September 25, 2023
ELLAVILLE – It was billed as #1 vs #2: Schley County (SCHS), ranked #1 in GHSA Class A Division 2, against Macon County (MC), the #2-ranked team in Class A Division 2. However, the Wildcats were able to separate themselves early and forced four turnovers on the night on their way to a 34-7 victory over the Bulldogs in front of an overflow crowd at Wildcat Stadium on Homecoming Night.
“We played real physical football tonight,” SCHS Head Coach Darren Alford said. “Our defense played extremely good against a very fast offense. We also executed our game plan on the offensive side of the football. I was proud of the job that our coaches did in preparing the kids. I felt like it was an overall great effort, as well as a great team win.”
SCHS senior quarterback Jay Kanazawa completed 15 of 21 passes for 288 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in leading the Wildcats to victory, while junior running back Jeremiah Rogers rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries. Junior Running back Zayden Walker also rushed for 19 yards on seven carries and scored two rushing touchdowns.
The Wildcats wasted no time in striking first. Just 20 seconds into the first quarter, quarterback Jay Kanazawa threw a screen pass to JaLewis Solomon, who scampered 81 yards for an SCHS touchdown. The extra point by Miguel Yanez was good and the score was 7-0 in favor of SCHS early in the first quarter.
On the Bulldogs’ next possession, the Wildcats were able to force and recover a fumble and it gave SCHS a golden opportunity to put points on the board. A few plays later, Zayden Walker ran the ball into the end zone for another touchdown. The extra point by Yanez was good and the Wildcats had a 14-0 lead with still a lot of time to go in the first quarter.
However, on the Wildcats’ next possession, Kanazawa threw a pass to Solomon that was slightly behind the line of scrimmage. Solomon dropped the pass and it was recovered by the Bulldogs. Nevertheless, the SCHS defense was able to force a three and out and the offense got the ball back.
However, on their next possession, the SCHS offense was forced into a three and out situation, as Kanazawa was sacked by Jakeyveon Parker of the Bulldogs.
On MC’s next possession, quarterback Brian Harris Jr. threw a long pass to Amar’e Shelley down near the SCHS 10-yard line. After an off side penalty was called against the Wildcats, MC running back KhaiMadj Patterson scored from five yards out. The extra point was good and the Wildcats’ lead had been trimmed to 14-7 with a little over two minutes to go in the first quarter.
On the next SCHS possession, the Wildcats were able to get down inside the MC 10-yard line thanks to another screen pass from Kanazawa to Solomon. Then on the first play of the second quarter, Kanazawa threw a pass that was tipped by an MC defender and landed into the hands of Sam Forehand, who scored a touchdown. The extra point by Yanez was good and the Wildcats were back up by two scores at 21-7.
The Wildcats’ defense once again was able to force MC into a three and out and got the ball back for the offense. Then on the Wildcats; next possession, SCHS used their running game to move the ball into MC territory, as they used the running attack of Jeremiah Rogers and Kabreon Aldridge. The drive bogged down inside the 20 of MC, but on fourth down and four, Kanazawa found Carson Westbrook for an 18-yard pass down inside the five. A couple of plays later, Walker scored a rushing touchdown from a yard out. Yanez’s extra point was blocked, but the Wildcats had a commanding 27-7 lead with 4:19 to go before halftime.
On the Bulldogs’ next possession, they were able to move the ball down to the SCHS 10-yard line thanks in part to a questionable 15-yard personal foul penalty called against Kabreon Aldridge and a facemask penalty shortly thereafter. However, the Wildcats’ defense came up big again, as they forced and recovered another fumble.
However, the Wildcats weren’t able to get a drive going on their ensuing possession and were forced to punt. However, just as the Bulldogs were going to have good field position, the Wildcats were able to force another turnover, as Harris’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Aldridge. That play turned out to be a fitting end to a first half that saw the Wildcats force three turnovers.
During halftime, the Schley County Homecoming Court was introduced and senior Chloe Green was named the 2023 Schley County Homecoming Queen. Also, for the first time in school history, a Homecoming King was named. Wyatt Halstead was named as the first ever Schley County Homecoming King.
The Bulldogs got the ball to start the second half, but once again the SCHS defense did its job, forcing a four and out and getting the ball back for the offense.
On the Wildcats’ next possession, they were able to move the ball down into MC territory, but Kanazawa’s pass was intercepted by the Bulldogs. However, MC gave the ball right back to the Wildcats, as Harris’s pass was intercepted by Tyreese Cook.
However, the Wildcats were also in a giving mood, as they fumbled the ball right back to the Bulldogs. However, incredibly, MC was in a giving mood as well, as Harris’s pass was intercepted by Carson Westbrook and brought back to the SCHS 45-yard line. However, the turnover bug did not discriminate on this night, as it bit the Wildcats again when Kanazawa’s pass was intercepted by Brian Harris Jr., who in addition to playing quarterback, also plays cornerback for the Bulldogs. By the end of the third quarter, the Wildcats still led the Bulldogs 27-7.
Once again, however, the SCHS defense did its job of bogging down the MC offense and getting the ball back. On the Wildcats’ next possession, they faced a third down in their own territory before Kanazawa threw a screen pass to Solomon, who ran the ball all the way into MC territory. A few plays later, they were inside the MC 10-yard line, but the drive stalled and the decision was to kick a field goal on fourth down. However, the Bulldogs were guilty of being off side, which made the distance much closer at fourth and goal. The Wildcats decided to go for it and Walker scored easily from a few yards out. The extra point by Yanez was good and the Wildcats led 34-7 with 4:53 to go in the game.
The Wildcats would get the ball back a few minutes later and would mount another drive into MC territory. At that point, all that was left to do was to run out the clock and celebrate, as the #1-ranked Schley County Wildcats defeated the #2-ranked Macon County Bulldogs 34-7.
The top-ranked Wildcats (5-0) will try to stay #1 when they travel over to Cusseta, Georgia to take on Chattahoochee County this coming Friday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m.