WCHS Wildcats Fall to Collinwood

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#19 Julian Birchett fights for more yards against Collinwood.

   A lack of offense in the first half of action at Collinwood last Friday night saw the Wayne County High School Wildcats trailing 24 – 0 at halftime. The Trojans ran 42 first half plays compared to 12 for the Wildcats. The ‘Cats came back in the second half and put up 20 points, but Collinwood matched them to take a 44 – 20 win.  With the loss, the Wildcats will be on the road this week for TSSAA Class 1A play-off competition. Being the third place team in Region 6-1A, they will travel to Moore County. Collinwood will get the home game for second place in the region and host Huntland. The ‘Cats finish regular season action 5 – 5 on the year.

   The Wildcats managed only one first down in the first half and punted three times. The Trojans scored touchdowns on all four of their possessions but didn’t convert on any point-after attempts to take the 24 – 0 lead.  In the second half, the Wildcats marched six and a half minutes off the clock on a 60 yard, 13 play drive. They scored on a one yard quarterback sneak by Cade Crews. The 2-pt conversion play failed, making the score 24 – 6. Collinwood answered to make the score 30 – 6 with 1:54 left on the third quarter clock. A little over a minute later, Crews sneaked in his second touchdown, again from the one yard line, to make the score 30 – 12. He found Hunter Staggs on a 2-pt conversion pass to up the score to 30 – 14.

   On the next Collinwood possession, the Wildcat defense forced a punt, but the Wildcats turned the ball back over to the Trojans on the second play. An interception gave the ball to the Trojans at the Wildcat 30. Two plays later the score went to 36 – 14. With the 2-pt conversion, the Trojans led 38 – 14 at the 9:02 mark of the fourth quarter. The ensuing kick-off saw Wildcat sophomore Austin Whitson return the kick 75 yards for a touchdown.  The conversion failed, making the score 38 – 20. Collinwood scored again with three minutes left to seal the win 44 – 20.

   The Wildcats managed only 138 total yards on the night. Timmy Robbins rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries.  Hunter Staggs had 9 carries for 29 yards and caught the 2-pt conversion pass from Crews. Julian Birchett had 19 yards on 5 carries before leaving the game with an injury. Cade Crews rushed 3 times for -8 yards, scoring two touchdowns. He was 1 of 10 passing for 21 yards and one interception. Gaynes Keaton caught the pass for 21 yards. Austin Whitson had one rush for 3 yards and returned the kick-off for 75 yards and a touchdown. 

   The Wildcat defense was on the field most of the night. They gave up 232 yards on the ground and 163 in the air. Hunter Staggs led the defense with 17 tackles. Damian Dickey and Blayne Love each had 10 tackles. Luke Sesler and Brock Brown each had 6 tackles, and Colton Beason and Timmy Robbins each had 5. Chase Cummings had 4 tackles, and Jonmikel Lynn had 3. Spencer Turnbow, Austin Whitson, and Chance Kelley each had 2. Brian Austin Carlton, Aaron Martin, and Gaynes Keaton each had a tackle.

   Follow the ‘Cats as they return to play-off action this season after missing it last year. Game time in Lynchburg is 7:00 p.m. “GOOD LUCK WILDCATS!”—Submitted