Wildcats see second-half success

By Slade Gilmer

For the FCT

 

Although they ended on the wrong side of a 35-14 score, the Tharptown Wildcats were able to leave Tharptown Stadium Friday night with some positive momentum.

After a first half that saw them outgained 214 to -14 and having three turnovers that led directly to 21 Sulligent points, the Wildcats statistically dominated the second half, outgaining Sulligent 74 yards to 18 and holding the Blue Devils to only one first down.

Unfortunately, this all came following a disastrous first half that saw the Blue Devils use their speed and some untimely turnovers to build a 35-0 lead and leave with a Class 2A, Region 8 victory.

Tharptown received the opening kickoff, but three runs went nowhere and forced a punt. The Blue Devils wasted little time, as their high-powered Wing-T offense (that put up 32 points on Class 4A Hamilton earlier in the season) got in high gear. Cordarius Metcalfe opened the drive with a 25-yard run, then Tyreke Metcalfe followed two plays later with a 24-yard run. C. Metcalfe finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown. The extra-point gave Sulligent a 7-0 lead with 8:15 remaining in the first period.

Tharptown’s second drive ended when T. Metcalfe picked off a pass and returned it 40 yards to the Wildcat 20. Quarterback C.J. McLemore found Duston Summerville for a 20-yard touchdown pass, pushing Sulligent’s lead to 14-0 with 6:47 left in the first quarter.

The next drive for Tharptown ended when the Blue Devils recovered a fumble at the Tharptown 15 and followed with a 15-yard touchdown, pushing the lead to 21-0 with 4:43 left in the first stanza.

Another fumble on the ensuing drive gave Sulligent the ball at the Tharptown 39-yard line. T. Metcalfe ran four times for 31 yards on the drive, concluding the drive with a three-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-0 with 1:18 left in the first period.

The two teams exchanged punts over the next three drives, before the Blue Devils took over on their own 40. Seven plays later, Mastin punched it in from two yards out, giving Sulligent a 35-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Wildcat defense stiffened, shutting down the Blue Devil offense, and early in the fourth quarter, Tharptown started their first touchdown drive.

Mikey Rosson looked to have put Tharptown on the board with a 40-yard touchdown run, but a holding penalty wiped it away. Still, Rosson and Nathan Chaney spearheaded a drive that reached the Sulligent 9.

A sack on third-and-goal set up a 40-yard field goal attempt by Luis Macias. Macias’ kick barely missed, but a roughing-the-kicker penalty gave Tharptown a new set of downs, and on the following play, Rosson barreled in for an 11-yard touchdown. Macias’ extra-point cut the deficit to 35-7 with 8:01 remaining in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Blue Devil returner fumbled, and Wildcat Carlos Perez was there to recover on the Blue Devil 36. Three plays later, quarterback Heath Hatton hit Matt Hall in stride for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The extra-point made the score 35-14.

The Wildcats’ last drive ended with a fumble, and Sulligent was able to get their lone first down of the second half to run out the clock.

Tharptown fell to 0-4 and 0-2 in Class 2A, Region 8 play, while the Blue Devils improved to 2-3 and 2-1.

Tharptown will host Decatur Heritage Friday night in non-region action.

 

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