Fighting Tigers squeak by Wolves
by Mark Ledbetter
FAYETTEVILLE — Taking control offensively in the second half, Talladega County Central Fighting Tigers defeated host Fayetteville Wolves 26-20 to spoil the Wolves homecoming Friday night.

Fayetteville took the opening kickoff and failing to make a first down in their opening drive punted to the Central 42-yard line. The Tigers drove to the Wolves 8 when quarterback Corey White threw an interception at Fayetteville’s 3.

Fayetteville could not move the ball no farther than their own 29 before punting to Central who took over at their own 39. Unable to move the ball the Tigers punted to the Wolves and the Wolves took over on their own 29.

The Wolves offensive mounted a drive at the end of the first quarter primarily upon the arm of quarterback Zach McGrady. Completing passes of 16, 14, and 7 yards, the Wolves moved to the Tigers 19 before the first quarter ended with the scored tied 0-0.

The second quarter opened with McGrady running for 9 yards and then completing an 8-yard touchdown pass to receiver Tyrie Powell. With the extra point the Wolves led 7-0.

Returning the ensuing kickoff to the 50-yard line, Central drove to the Wolves 38 and settled with punting to the Wolves 4-yard line. On a quarterback keeper Wolves quarterback McGrady ran around right end for a 37-yard pickup.

Aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty Fayetteville drove to Central’s 25 but after three incomplete passes, Fayetteville settled for a 42-yard field goal off the toe of McGrady and the Wolves led 10-0.

The Tigers’ Kylen Cross took the kickoff back to the Wolves’s 30 for a 60 yard return. On a reverse pass, however, wide receiver and backup quarterback Zekyle Stockdale threw an interception to Wolves Powell at the Wolves’ 10.

After exchanging punts, Fayetteville drove to the Tiger 14 and with time running out attempted a fake field goal when time expired in the first half and the Wolves had a 10-0 half-time lead.

Central came out in the third quarter completing three play-action passes of 19, 11, and 21 yards. White completed a 19-yard pass to Stockdale, 11 yards to running back Justin Woodruff, ran for two consecutive 8-yard pickups, and completed a 21-yard strike to sophomore running back Rodney Wilson. Running back Corey Morris ran it in from the 3 and with a missed 2-point conversion the Tigers cut the Wolves’ lead 10-7.

Following the kickoff, the Wolves took over on their 27 before McGrady fumbled and the Tigers’ Julius Player took the ball in for a 30-yard defensive score and within three minutes of the beginning of the second half the Wolves suddenly found themselves down 14-10.

“In ball games the big play has a way of turning things around,” Wolves coach John Limbaugh said. “That fumble recovery made the difference in the game.

The teams exchanged punts before the quarter ended and they went into the fourth quarter 14-10.

The Wolves continued the drive they started in the third quarter and took it to the Tigers’ 11 before settling for another field goal and the score stood at 14-13.

The Tigers then mounted a dominating running game and took the ball from their own 46 to score primarily on the running of Morris for 22 yards and a 15-yard run by Wilson to keep the momentum going. White took it in from the 7 and the score and missed 2-point conversion gave Central a 20-13 lead with just under 6 minutes left in the game.

Fayetteville turned the ball over on downs and the running of Morris and Wilson took the ball to the Wolves 28 before Morris took the ball in from the 25 for his second touchdown of the evening and the Tigers seemed to lock in the victory as the score stood 26-13 with 3 minutes left in the game.

McGrady completed a 44-yard pass to sophomore Jacob Skinner before throwing an interception at Central’s 7. With 2:18 left in the game two runs by Morris only netted 2 yards. White dropped back to pass on third-and-8 and after being tipped by a defensive lineman, Fayetteville’s Cook intercepted and took it back for a pick-six and with the PAT the Wolves cut the margin to 26-20.

“That was the worse call in the universe,” Tiger coach Damien Dorsey referring to pass play he called.

With 1:08 left in the game, Fayetteville’s on-side kick was recovered by Central but received a second chance when off-side was called against the Tigers. The second on-side attempt was recovered again by the Tigers and they ran out the clock sealing the win 26-20.

After the game Limbaugh said, “My hat’s off to Dorsey, he’s a good guy.”

“I’m proud of my guys. Our quarterback, receivers and offensive line played well. They played hard,” Limbaugh said.

Dorsey said he was proud of his team and was impressed with his offensive line.

“They overcame adversity,” Dorsey said. “We’ve been in positions like this before but couldn’t get it done. I’m proud of our guys.”

Dorsey said, “Limbaugh is a class act and person of integrity and respect.”

Both teams travel next week; Fayetteville to St. Jude and TC Central to Loachapoka.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com

© 2012