Moore County Raiders Take Down WCHS Wildcats

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#40 Luke Sesler breaks down, getting ready to make the tackle.

   The WCHS Wildcats traveled to Lynchburg last Friday night to take on the Moore County Raiders in region football action. The Raiders put up 314 yards of offense and 26 points. The ‘Cats took care of the ball, only suffering one turnover, but managed only 216 yards. The Raiders downed the ‘Cats, 26 – 13.

   Moore County got off to a fast start, taking the opening kick and putting together a 6 play, 59 yard drive to score their first touchdown. The PAT was converted, making the score 7 – 0, only 3 1/2 minutes into the contest. The ‘Cats went on offense and ran 8 plays before turning the ball over on downs at the Raider 33. On the next possession, Moore County ran three plays before Eli McClain came up with an interception at the Raider 46. The ‘Cats went down the field in 6 plays, 22 of which came on an Austin Whitson to Luke Sesler pass completion, but the drive stalled at that point and the ball went back over to the Raiders on downs. The defense held, forcing a punt, which Wildcat Austin Whitson returned 58 yards.  Three plays later, Whitson carried the ball into the end zone on a one yard run. Justin Bowlus added the PAT to tie the contest, 7 – 7, with 7:40 left in the first half.

   On the second play of Moore County’s next possession, Wildcat linebacker Luke Sesler came up with an interception, giving the ‘Cats the ball back. A long penalty for illegal participation on the Wildcats, gave them the ball at their own 40 yardline. The teams exchanged punts, and then the ‘Cats turned the ball over on downs at their own 40. The Raiders wasted no time, hitting a 40 yard pass for a touchdown with only 1:24 left in the first half. The point attempt failed, making the score 13 – 7 at halftime.

   In the second half, the ‘Cats moved the ball out to the Raider 43 before being forced to punt. The snap went wide and the ball went over to the Raiders. The ‘Cats held Moore County and forced a punt. This time the Wildcats went 73 yards in ten plays for a touchdown, as Austin Whitson scored from 4 yards away to tie the game. Again, a bad snap caused a problem on the kick, so the score remained tied at 13 all.  Moore County answered with a 90 yard, 7 play drive for their third touchdown of the night. With the point after, they went up 20 – 13, at the 8:29 mark of the fourth period. Again the teams exchanged punts.  The ‘Cats got the ball at their own 10, and with the game getting into the late stages, they attemped a pass that was picked off and returned 15 yards for a touchdown to make the final score 26 – 13 in favor of Moore County.

   Julian Birchette rushed for 70 yards on 19 carries on the night to lead the ‘Cats. Austin Whitson had 17 carries for 54 yards with two touchdowns, and was 3 of 10 passing for 65 yards with one interception.  Ryder Butler carried the ball 2 times for 17 yards, and Brock Brown had 5 rushes for 10 yards. Tyler Moser had one reception for 30 yards, and Luke Sesler caught one pass for 22 yards. Eli McClain had one catch for 13 yards.

   The defense came up with a pair of interceptions and gave up 159 yards on the ground and 155 in the air. They were led by Luke Sesler with 6 tackles, an interception, and a blocked PAT. Eli McClain also had 6 tackles and an interception. Freshman linebacker Drew Bevis added 5 tackles, while Dawson Willis, Ryder Butler, and Colton Beason each had 4 tackles. Chance Kelley made 3 tackles. David Grant Dixon, Austin Whitson, and Aaron Martin had 2 tackles apiece, while Sayler Skelton had a tackle.

   The Wildcats are now 1 – 4 on the year and return home this week to take on Eagleville and celebrate “Homecoming 2021.” Game time is 7:00 p.m., with ceremonies preceding the game.

   Come out and cheer on the Wildcats as they try to claim a homecoming victory.  “WORK HARD WILDCATS!”—Submitted