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Wildcats fall short in Senior Night heartbreak

by Taylor Nye

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats hosted 5-3 Forney Friday for their senior night game. Entering the game with a record of 0-8, Sulphur Springs was hoping to get a win in their final home game of the year.

Forney got the ball first and put together a strong drive, quickly moving into Wildcats territory. Looking like they were putting themselves in scoring position, the Sulphur Springs defense was able to hold Forney to a field goal, giving themselves a chance to take the lead right back.

Brady Driver and the Wildcats offense went to work, with senior Jesse Bailey getting the start at running back, and keeping the drive alive with a huge rush on third down, moving all the way to the Forney 36-yard line. From there Driver was able to run it in himself, taking it 36 yards and giving the Wildcats a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

Neither team found anymore offense in the opening frame, though the Wildcats defense continued to shine. On the following two drives seniors Korderrion Turner and Colby Albritton each came down with an interception, getting their offense the ball back with a chance to add to their lead.

The Forney offense turned things up a notch in the second quarter, putting 21 points up in the frame. Sulphur Springs was able to keep themselves in the game, in large part due to quarterback Matthew Mitchell finding wide receiver CJ Williams on a 59-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown helped put Sulphur Springs back within 10 points, as they entered the locker room trailing 24-14.

Sulphur Springs got the ball to open the second half and immediately went to work, picking up a number of first downs and driving the length of the field. Senior Douglas Deloney found the end zone on a 23-yard touchdown rush, bringing the score to 24-21.

The Wildcats defense answered back by finding the same success they had  in the opening frame. Forney went for it on fourth-and-two, and Sulphur Springs was able to stop them, getting their offense the ball back.

Sulphur Springs got the ball back with 5:48 left to go in the third quarter and put together a long drive that used the remainder of the frame. The Wildcats drove their way into opponent territory and finally scored on a five-yard pass to Williams, taking a 28-24 lead to open the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats defense continued to do its job, keeping Forney out of the end zone, though they did knock down a pair of field goals. Trailing by six points with 4:08 left to play, the Wildcats prepared to recover a kick. The ball sailed over the returners head and Forney was able to get to it and recover their own kick, taking possession back at the Sulphur Springs two-yard line. 

Sulphur Springs would have had the ball down six with four minutes to play and a chance to win the game, but now found themselves trying to fight Forney off once again. They did keep them out of the end zone again, but Forney made one final field goal, bringing the game to it’s final score of 37-28.

Mitchell led the Wildcats offense, completing 20 of his 33 attempts for 193 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His favorite target for the night was Williams who had a standout game. The junior wide out had 12 catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively the team was led by Turner, who had a team-high 13 tackles, including eight solo tackles. Turner also had one of the two interceptions and played an integral part in one the Wildcats best defensive performances of the year. 

Junior Riley Hammons also had a very strong game, coming in second in tackles with nine. Juniors Nick Cantillo and Brayden Morris each had one tackle for loss, while combining for seven tackles between the two of them.

The loss was one of the toughest of the season for Sulphur Springs, coming short after leading to start the fourth quarter. Their defense fought hard all game and put them in a position to have a chance to win it, but unfortunately they fall to 0-9.

They will close their season this week with a road game against the 1-8 North Forney Falcons. The Wildcats will look to send their seniors out with a win, and give themselves some momentum heading in to the offseason.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday. The freshman and junior varsity teams will also play one day earlier this week, with their games taking place Wednesday.

Photos by Tyler Lennon and Taylor Nye

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