The Wayne County High School Wildcats took a big region win over the McEwen Warriors last Friday night, as Hunter Staggs carried it in from six yards out to break a 14 all tie. He scored his second touchdown of the night with 5:53 left in the game. The Wildcats held the Warriors on the next series, stopping them on a 4th and 12 to get the ball back and sealing the victory. Three consecutive turnovers in the first half hampered the Wildcats’ effort.
The ‘Cats started the contest with the ball and good field position at the Wildcat 41. A sack and loss of 17 yards on first down put the Wildcats behind the sticks to start. They moved it out to the Wildcat 43 before turning it over to McEwen on 4th down. It took only three minutes for the Warriors to score, going in on a 35 yard run. The PAT was good to make it 7 – 0. The Wildcats fumbled on the second play of their next possession, turning the ball back over to the Warriors. They moved the ball down to the Wildcat 19, but the Wildcat defense held on downs. The ‘Cats went from the 19 to the Warrior 35 before giving up their second fumble of the game. McEwen took control, going 50 yards in 12 plays to the Wildcat 35, before fumbling it back to the ‘Cats. Hunter Staggs came up with the recovery. The turnover bug bit again on the second play as McEwen intercepted at the Wildcat 37. Four plays later, the Warriors scored on a 32 yard pass play. They converted the PAT and led 14 – 0.
The Wildcats answered with an 8 play, 63 yard drive as Clay Baugus carried it in from 3 yards out for the touchdown with ten seconds left. Cade Crews found tight end Blayne Love for the two point conversion to cut the lead to 14 – 8.
Starting the second half, the ‘Cats forced McEwen into a punting situation on fourth down. The snap was muffed and the punter was tackled at the McEwen 30. Six plays later, Hunter Staggs scored on a 10 yard run. The two point conversion was no good, leaving the score tied at 14 all.
The teams exchanged punts on the next two possessions. The Wildcat defense stopped McEwen on downs on the following series, taking the ball at the Warrior 49. It took 11 plays, but Hunter Staggs found the end zone on a 6 yard run to score his second touchdown. The 2-pt. conversion attempt failed to give the ‘Cats the 20 – 14 lead. A big fourth down and 12 stop by the Wildcat defense sealed the 20 – 14 win for the Wildcats.
Hunter Staggs finished the game with 84 yards rushing on 15 carries and 2 touchdowns to lead the ground attack. Cade Crews was 10 of 18 passing for 167 yards with one interception. He was tackled for a 17 yard loss early in the game. Julian Birchett had 3 carries for 27 yards, while Clay Baugus rushed 3 times for 10 yards. He caught 4 passes for 111 yards. Eli McClain had one rush for 21 yards and caught one pass for 6 yards. Austin Whitson had 5 catches for 50 yards. The ‘Cats ended up with 292 yards on the night. They hurt themselves with ten penalties for 100 yards.
The defense limited the Warriors to 122 yards rushing on 37 attempts and gave up one 32 yard pass completion for a touchdown on 4 attempts. They were led by Hunter Staggs with 16 tackles. Staggs also came up with a fumble recovery and broke up a pass. Damian Dickey and Blayne Love each had 8 tackles on defense. Austin Whitson had 6 tackles, while Brock Brown, Clay Baugus, Jonmikel Lynn, Luke Sesler, and Julian Birchett each had 5 tackles. Baugus also broke up a pass. Brian Austin Carlton had 4 tackles, and Cameron Manley, Colton Beason, and Chase Cummings each had 2. David Walker and Dawson Willis each tallied a tackle.
The Wildcats now stand at 4 – 4 on the year and 3 – 1 in Region 6-1A play. They return home this week to celebrate Senior Night and Homecoming 2020 against the Perry County Vikings. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m., with game time coming at 7:00 p.m. “STAY SAFE WILDCATS!”—Submitted