If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Cat fight in Citronelle up next for GCHS
By RUSSELL TURNER
Friday night was a tough one for the GCHS Wildcat football team. Not only did the Wildcats drop a disappointing loss to their rivals from George County, they also continued to get hit by an injury bug that has hit the team hard early in the season.
Greene County had some opportunities early against the Rebels, but dropped passes, missed assignments and several untimely penalties took the wind out of the sails in Wildcat Stadium and led to a 24-0 shutout and the Golden Bell trophy returning to Lucedale for another year.
“It was a tough loss,” Wildcat Head Coach Mike King said. “The best I can say is that we were just really sloppy on offense all night long and you can’t play that way against the schedule we are facing and expect to come out with a win.”
King also confirmed injuries to senior quarterback Jacob Mitchell and junior defensive end / linebacker Caymon Floore. Mitchell finished the game, but his status for this week’s action is unclear at this point as he recovers from a groin/leg injury suffered against the Rebels. Floore, who was starting at defensive end with senior Hunter McLeod and sophomore Chad Thomas already out with injuries, played very well for the short time he was in the game. However, an ankle injury took him out of the game in the first half and left the GCHS defense even more shorthanded. Floore’s status for this week is questionable.
George County’s best offensive possession came on their first, when they marched downfield in impressive fashion to take a 7-0 lead with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
Greene County was unable to get anything going on its first possession and was forced to punt. But, a hard hit by senior LaDon Woullard knocked a pass loose from a George County receiver a few plays later and Floore was there to haul in the interception and set us his team at the Rebel 32. Two plays, Mitchell found classmate Drake Henderson wide open for a certain touchdown, but the usually sure-handed Henderson was unable to secure the catch. Two plays later the Cats caught the Rebels secondary asleep once again, this time with a double-pass from Mitchell to Henderson and then to senior Peyton Roberts. Unfortunately, Henderson was forced to rush his throw and just overthrew an open Roberts in almost the exact same spot on the field as the first dropped pass.
“Those were opportunities for us to tie things up and get some momentum,” King said. “But, we just missed them.”
After exchanging a couple of punts, George County was back in Wildcat territory with great field position. A nice defensive stand by the home team and a blocked field goal attempt by sophomore Jeremiah Cochran could have been the spark the Cats needed to get going, but a penalty on Greene County during the field goal attempt killed that momentum. The Cats’ defense held again and senior kicker Laine Evans 21-yard field goal attempt failed, keeping the Wildcats within striking distance heading into halftime.
The Wildcats received the opening kickoff in the third quarter, but a first down conversion was called back due to a penalty and the Cats were eventually forced to punt.
Great field position led to yet another field goal attempt by the Rebels and this time Evans was true from 22 yards out to push the George County lead to 10-0 with 8:51 remaining in the third quarter.
The Greene County defense spent a lot of time on the field the remainder of the game as the Cats’ offense just could get a sustained drive together. The Wildcat defense played well, but gave up two late fourth quarter touchdowns to push the final score to 24-0.
“I felt like we settled in after their first possession,” Defensive Coordinator Jacob Aycock said. “We are still battling some injuries from guys who we expect to be big contributors. It is not an effort thing for sure. Our guys are fighting every play.”
“I have been pleased to force three turnovers in our first two games and also block some kicks. To me that shows great effort. We have a tough couple of games coming up, but as always we are excited about the challenge and I know we will continue to get better and better.”
Woullard led the Wildcats with 14 tackles and a forced fumble. Senior Malachi Graham had 10 stops, while seniors Josh Bolton and Jaheim Cooper added nine each. Floore recorded two tackles and an interception before leaving the game with an injury. Also, sophomore J.T. Dunnam had two tackles and a fumble recovery, while his classmate Jeremiah Cochran finished with four tackles and the blocked field goal that was negated by a penalty.
The Wildcat offense was held to under 100 yards of total offense as Mitchell was 8-of-19 for 75 yards and an interception in the passing game. Senior Anthony Calhoun had 26 yards rushing for the Wildcats on 24 carries.
“McKinley Jackson and the rest of the George County defensive front got enough pressure on us that we never really got anything going, particularly in the passing game,” King said. “I am a little disappointed in how we finished as we’ve allowed the wheels to come off late in the game the past two weeks.”
“Not sure if that was a matter of fatigue or something else, but it is an area we need to get cleaned up.”
With the loss, Greene County dropped to 0-2 on the season with a trip to Citronelle (Ala.) on tap this week. The Wildcats from across the Alabama line are off to a 2-0 start to the season after a 37-7 win over Washington County in their opener and a 25-10 victory over Leroy this past week.
Individual stats for Citronelle were not available at press time, but King and his coaching staff know they are in for another tough matchup. Game time for Friday is set for 7 p.m.
Fans unable to attend the game can watch the action via livestream at www.nfhsnetwork.com.