By Amy Thrash | Sports Reporter
Southern Torch Sports Network
FORT PAYNE — The Fort Payne Wildcats celebrated Homecoming with a thrilling 31-30 victory over the Mae Jemison Jaguars, 31-30.
At the end of the first quarter, the game was at a standstill with neither team on the board.
In the second quarter with 11:16 remaining, Hunter Love dove into the endzone to put the Wildcats on the board and earn a 7-0 lead over the Jaguars.
The Wildcats scored again with 1:23 remaining in the second quarter when Darwin Camp punched it in from two yards out for a 14-0 advantage.
Jemison answered with :34 remaining in the half with a 56-yard touchdown run. The kick was blocked by Fort Payne’s Cam Thomas. The Wildcats carried the 14-6 lead into halftime.
With 8:11 left in the third quarter, a fake punt set up a 49-yard touchdown run by Mattew Shaddix and gave the Wildcats the 21-6 advantage.
The Wildcats defense forced a three-and-out and then blocked the Jaguars punt with 5:55 remaining in the third. Darrell Prater charged into the endzone, giving the Wildcats the 28-6 lead.
Jemison ran up the middle for an 80-yard touchdown with 5:43 remaining in the third. The Jaguars converted the two-point attempt to cut the lead to 28-14.
In the fourth quarter with 11:22 remaining, Jemison raced down the middle and scored a 55-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion was good, making the score 28-22.
Alex McPherson drilled a 56-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 31-22 lead with 8:14 remaining in the game.
With 4:52 remaining in the fourth, the Jaguars cut the lead to 31-30 on the last touchdown of the night.
Time ran out for the Jaguars as the Wildcats gained a couple of critical first downs and took a knee to end the game.
“We had way too many turnovers; our defense rose to the occasion and stopped Jemison when we had [the turnovers],” said Fort Payne Head Football Coach Chris Elmore.
“Alex McPherson had another outstanding game, including a 56-yard field goal, that ended up being the winning points. Our offense struggled at times, but we converted two key third-and-long plays on the final drive to allow us to run the clock out.”
Fort Payne is idle on Sept. 20th, and will travel to Etowah on Sept 27.