FAYETTEVILLE â€” Wilson Central's Wildcats advanced to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs with a 33-6 win in The Pit over Lincoln County Friday night.
With the win, the Wildcats advance to play at Smyrna, a team they lost to in the final week of the regular season, at 7 p.m. next Friday.
"Let us play somebody else instead of Region 4-5-A again," Wildcat head coach Traye Aric said after Central moved to 8-3 for the season. Smyrna advanced with a 30-0 shutout of Franklin County.
The scoring began early as Wilson Central took advantage of a turnover by the Falcons.
A Wildcat punt went off a Falcon reciever and Arcavius McMurray got on the ball near the end zone and went in for a touchdown and the score was 7-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
Lincoln County came right back with a little trickery of its own. On a fourth-down play near midfield the Falcons ran a fake punt and snapped the ball to Jeremy Dollar, who raced through the secondary and was caught from behind at the 1-yard line.
On the second snap, Tate Mustin plowed in and the score was 7-6. The ensuing extra point was blocked, leaving the Wildcats with the lead by one point.
Wilson Central's next score was set up by its special teams as JaJuan Brooks took a punt at the 13-yard line, got a few blocks and raced down the sideline before finally being tackled at the Falcon 26-yard line.
The Wildcats eventually scored on a third-and-goal pass from Kelten Stewart to McMurray of 9 yards.
Central's final score of the first half came after a Falcon turnover.
Lincoln County quarterback Wil Golden went back to pass and threw a ball into the arms of Nathan Rottero, who returned it to the Falcon 44-yard line.
A penalty on Lincoln County moved the ball inside the 30 and Jackson Redditt was called on to attempt a 46-yard field goal, which he kicked through the uprights at the horn making the halftime score 17-6 in favor of Wilson Central.
Besides the interception, Rottero also was in on 11 tackles to lead the Wildcat defense.
"Coach [Brad] Dedman had a good game plan and our game preparation was good this week," Aric said.
Wilson Central received the ball to open the second half and the Wildcats took the wind out of the Lincoln County sails by going on an 11-play, 71-yard drive that nearly chewed up six minutes off the clock.
Spencer Neville did the honors from 32 yards out and, with half the third period nearly gone, the score was 24-6.
Lincoln County could not get anything going offensively in the second half. The Falcons punted twice, gave the ball over on downs and threw an interception.
With less than four minutes gone in the final quarter, Wilson Central went on another time-consuming drive. This time they took over four minutes and drove 75 yards in seven plays.
Alex Raines scored from 20 yards away and gave the Wildcats a commanding 30-6 lead.
Redditt closed the scoring by kicking a 40-yard field goal with under four minutes left to play.
Lincoln County got the ball and drove it to the Wildcat 27-yard line. On first down, Golden went back to pass and threw an interception to Ryan Tanaro with less than three minutes remaining on the clock.
Wilson Central earned a first down and from there the Wildcats ran out the clock for Aric's 20th win since taking over Wilson Central in 2006.
On the injury front, Wildcat wingback Cody Clawson injured his collarbone late in the game and will be evaluated Monday to determine the extent of the damage.