Wildcat comeback falls short

GLADEVILLE —  Wilson Central fell behind 21-7 at halftime, but valiantly fought back in the second half only to fall short 28-24 to Beech Friday night.
Sep 8, 2009

Wilson Central's Ryan Tanaro annd Tyler Coombes bring down Beech's Jonathan Sites. Photo by DALLUS WHITFIELD


GLADEVILLE —  Wilson Central fell behind 21-7 at halftime, but valiantly fought back in the second half only to fall short 28-24 to Beech Friday night.
"We challenged them at halftime to come out and fight. I am proud of our team the way we played in the second half. We are not going to hang our heads and quit," Wildcat coach Traye Aric said after Central slipped to 0-3 for the season, 0-2 in District 9-AAA.
Beech [2-1, 1-0] scored the first two times it had the football. The first time was set up by the kickoff return from Max Zinchini. The drive took four plays and was capped by a 5-yard run by Ethan Walker and the score was 7-0.
The second score was set up after a Beech punt as Wilson Central was flagged for roughing the kicker, moving the football to the Wildcat 49-yard line. A pass was thrown from quarterback Jarod Neal to Jonathan Sites of 35 yards and with four minutes left to go in the opening quarter it was 14-0 Buccaneers.
Late in the first quarter, Beech had the ball deep in its territory as Neal went back to pass. The rush came on him and he fumbled the football. It went into the end zone where Jordan Poole jumped on it for the score making it a 14-7 ballgame.
In the middle of the second quarter, Beech scored again off of a personal foul penalty by Wilson Central for running into the kicker. The play was a fourth and two from the 43, and Neal gained 3 yards giving the Buccaneers a fresh set of downs.
Beech hit the home run play when Travis Haymer took the ball and ran it 51 yards to the end zone giving Beech a 21-7 lead at intermission.
The third quarter went back and forth as the offenses really shined.
Wilson Central took the second-half kickoff and drove 10 plays, covering 72 yards and capping the scoring drive with a 1-yard run by quarterback Hunter Cranford.
Beech, however, came right back as the Buccaneers hit another long play, this time a 69-yard run by Sites making the score 28-14.
Wilson Central scored again with the help of a couple of personal-foul penalties by Beech as Cranford took the football in from 3 yards out and with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter Beech led the game 28-21.
After a three and out by Beech, Wilson Central received the ball at the 31. The Wildcats drove 57 yards in 11 plays as Jackson Redditt came on to attempt a 30-yard field goal which was good and the score was 28-24.
After another Beech punt, the Wildcats got the ball back but turned it over as they fumbled it back to the Buccaneers.
Beech drove and lined up for a 40-yard field goal, which was faked. The Wildcats stopped them, getting the ball back on their 24.
Wilson Central drove the football to the Beech 31, but on a fourth-and-10 play, Cranford was stopped short of the marker as he tried to scramble up the middle.
"Our quarterback was only playing in his third high school game tonight. I am proud of the effort of my coaching staff," Aric said after the game.
Cranford completed 24 of 39 passes for 177 yards. Alex Stewart caught 10 balls for 66 as the Wildcats accumulated 328 total yards.
The Buccaneers had 241 of their 291 yards on the ground, with Haymer leading the way with 81 yards on 11 carries.
Wilson Central in district play will host Siegel for homecoming at 7 p.m. next Friday.
Sports Editor Andy Reed contributed to this story.


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