Wildcats Overtake the Panthers in a Region Game
The Hale County Wildcats (4-1, 2-1) had a cat fight against the Southside Selma Panthers (1-4, 0-3) on Saturday night. The teams opted for a Saturday kickoff due to Southside Selma quarantining the last two weeks after experiencing COVID-19 exposure. The Panthers played valiantly despite not practicing the last two weeks but the Wildcats won the game 27-16.
The Wildcat offense amassed 302 yards, balancing the run and the pass. Hale County was 13-for-18 passing for 184 yards. The Wildcats rand the ball 32 times for 3.7 yards per rush to keep control of the game. Hale County overcame a few minor setbacks, one fumble and seven penalties hindered the offensive efforts.
"We didn't do a good job at all aspect in the beginning. Then we started playing better football. We started blocking better, tackling better, obviously when you play better you have better results," said Hale County coach Mark Hastings.
The Panthers offense was effective despite just coming out of quarantine that forced them to forfeit last week. Southside Selma put up 350 yards of offense, passing the ball 19 times on 35 attempts for 254 yards and rushing the ball 42 times for 96 yards. However the Panthers could not get out of their own way, committing six turnovers in the game. Southside Selma lost four fumbles and threw two interceptions and additionally committed seven penalties.
"We made some plays early on and we turned the ball over a lot", said Southside Selma coach. The biggest adjustment the coach said needed to be made is "don't turn the ball over."
In the first quarter both teams struggled to get the ball into the end zone. The Panthers were the first to make a touchdown, but not until the second quarter. Ke'andre Williams ran the ball up the middle to score then quarterback Christopher Thomas scored the two point conversion.
The Panthers quickly made another huge play. Williams was unstoppable and charged his way through the Wildcats' defense to score another touchdown with only eight minutes left in the first half. The score was then 14-0 in favor of Southside Selma.
The Wildcats could not be held back any longer. Malachi Pasteur recovered a fumble and carried it all the way into the endzone. Hale County quarterback, Matthew Swartz then made a pass to Jamarion Ryans with only 20 seconds left in the half to score the game's next touchdown. This made the halftime score 14-12 with Southside Selma still in front.
The third quarter was intense with both cats trying to score another touchdown. The Wildcat quarterback Swartz handed off the ball to Ty Gardner to score the next touchdown for Hale County. The score to end third quarter was 20-14.
The fourth quarter was a battle field. SouthSide Selma tried to rally together to score again. Unluckily, their efforts did not stop the Wildcats. Hale County scored with only two minutes left in the game on a Swartz pass to Steve Scott.
The Panthers had less than a minute in the game to make a move but came up short. Southside Selma was able to score a safety for two more points but the final score of the game was 27-16.
Hale County's homecoming is next week, and they will be playing the Sulligent Blue Devils.
Southside Selma will go out of region, playing the Keith Bears.