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The Perry Central Bulldogs gave the Greene County Wildcats all they could handle in Friday night’s showdown, even claiming a 21-14 lead with a strong scoring drive to begin the second half. But on the gridiron, the way teams respond to adversity is often what tells the tale, and head coach Mike King’s Wildcats made big plays in crucial moments that led to a 35-21 win on the road.
“I told them in the pregame to not expect it to be easy (to prevent) not realizing we would have to battle as hard as we did,” King said.
The Bulldogs made it clear that they were in it to win it, orchestrating two long scoring drives in the second quarter — the second being a touchdown reception by Paul James with 3 seconds remaining in the half to enter halftime trailing 14-13 to their 4A foes from Leakesville.
Perry Central’s offense picked up where it left off in the third, taking its first lead of the night with a touchdown run by Ty Sumrall and a 2-point conversion. But with their backs against the ropes, the Wildcats buckled down with an impressive effort to finish strong and secure the victory.
“At halftime we talked about learning to finish a ball game, and I think we did that,” King said. “I was very pleased with the way we responded to all of the miscues. Several calls did not go our way and we had a couple turnovers as well. Our guys could’ve easily hung their heads, but they kept playing through it all. I’m very proud of them.”
The Wildcats tied the game with a rushing score by Kennen Franks and reclaimed the lead just five scoreboard minutes later with a touchdown reception by Cam Dunnam. With time dwindling in the fourth, Connor West connected on a deep ball to BJ Johnson, whose impressive grab set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Dalarrus Cooper to extend the Wildcats lead and secure the win.
The Wildcats (2-3, 0-0) will look to carry the momentum of two straight road wins into next Friday’s region opener at Bay High School, and the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-0) will attempt to bounce back in their own region opener at Jefferson Davis County High School.