Wildcats stage come-from-behind victory over Early County; advance to Final Four

Published 4:38 pm Sunday, November 26, 2023

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From Staff Reports



ELLAVILLE – The Schley County Wildcats (SCHS) were able to stage a dramatic 28-24 come-from-behind victory over Early County Friday night and are now headed back to the GHSA Class A Division 2 State Semifinals.

The Wildcats opened the scoring with eight minutes to go in the first quarter when quarterback Jay Kanazawa threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Zayden Walker. The extra point by Miguel Yanez was good and SCHS had a 7-0 lead.

However, with 8:27 left in the second quarter, EC running back Tycavion Stovall responded with a 64-yard rushing touchdown. The Bobcats decided to go for two, but the two-point conversion failed, making the score 7-6 in favor of the Wildcats at halftime.

The Bobcats were able to take the lead in the third quarter when quarterback Astyn Grimes completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Kendarrious Boyd. The two-point try failed, but the Wildcats found themselves trailing 12-7 with 6:58 to go in the third quarter.

However, the Wildcats had a response. With 5:30 to go in the third quarter, Kanazawa threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Zayden Walker. The extra point by Yanez was good and SCHS was back in the lead 14-12.

The Bobcats would not go away though and they were able to retake the lead when Tycavion Stovall scored his second touchdown of the night, this one from 42 yards out. The conversion pass failed, but EC was back in the lead 18-14.

The Bobcats would later extend their lead when they completed a drive with Grimes scoring on a quarterback keeper from a yard out. The extra point attempt by Mason Warfield was no good, but the Bobcats had a 24-14 lead with 9:29 to go in the game.

However, as has been the case with this group of Wildcats, they would never quit.

They were able to mount another scoring drive, which was finished off by a three-yard touchdown run by Walker. The extra point by Yanez was good and the Wildcats were within three points at 24-21 with 6:36 left to play in the game.

The SCHS defense was able to hold the Bobcats on their next drive and got the ball back for the Offense. Then with 1:42 left to play, the offense orchestrated the game-winning drive that was capped off with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Kanazawa to Carson Westbrook. With that, the Wildcats clinched the 28-24 victory and a berth in the final four.

Schley County senior wide receiver JaLewis Solomon is seen here competing for the Wildcats against Early County.
Photo by Shannon Blanchard

Kanazawa completed 17 of 29 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns and Zayden Walker rushed for 78 yards on 11 carries and had one rushing touchdown.

As far as receiving was concerned, Walker caught four passes for 108 yards, including two touchdowns and Carson Westbrook caught seven passes for 148 yards, including the winning touchdown.

The Wildcats will now get themselves ready to face Bowdon on the road in a rematch of last year’s state championship game in which they came up short 39-31.

Kickoff from Bowdon High School is scheduled for Friday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m.