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Wildcats season comes to an end with road loss

by Tyler Lennon

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats played their final game of the season Friday, falling to North Forney by a final score of 47-20. The loss dropped their record to 0-10 on the season and 0-7 in district play, though they did play a number of very close games.

The first close loss this season came back in week three, their final non-district game of the year. The Wildcats went on the road to face a tough Kaufman team who ended the year with a 7-3 record and earning a playoff spot. Sulphur Springs lost the game by a final score of 34-32.

The following week Sulphur Springs hosted Crandall for their district opener and even led in the early going, leading 13-8 at the end of the first quarter. A combined 42 points the second and third quarter led Crandall to a 57-34 win, but it still looked like the Wildcats were on track to pick up their first win soon.

Just a couple of weeks later the Wildcats hosted a very tough Royse City team, who finished the regular season with an 8-2 record and a playoff bid. After trailing for most of the game, the Wildcats scored on a muffed punt and then got the ball back on the following possession, giving themselves a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. Things didn’t go in favor of the Wildcats, and the Bulldogs eventually won the game by a final score of 42-28.

Then began the very tough losses for Sulphur Springs. Friday, Oct. 15 the Wildcats traveled to Corsicana and played an excellent game, leading for a huge majority of the way. Regulation wasn’t enough to decide things and the Wildcats ended up falling 41-38 in overtime.

The following week Sulphur Springs came back home to host Greenville. After some really tough losses, the Wildcats felt ready to grab their first win of the year. Leading 21-13 at the end of the first half, they looked to be in great position to do so, before ultimately falling 25-21.

The Wildcats wrapped their year up with a pair of losses to Forney and North Forney, bringing their overall record to 0-10.

Junior Matthew Mitchell and sophomore Brady Driver were the quarterbacks this year for the Wildcats. Mitchell completed 104 of his 187 attempts for 1238 yards, throwing nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Mitchell also ran for 55 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Driver, who took over as the starter later in the season had a strong go as well. Driver completed 48 of his 97 attempts, throwing for 645 yards and seven touchdowns, while only throwing a pair of interceptions. Driver had an excellent year on the ground, rushing for 384 yards and three touchdowns, averaging right at seven yards per carry.

Sophomore Malachi Roland was the leading rusher for the Wildcats this year, picking up 484 yards and four touchdowns on 80 attempts, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Behind him was senior JJ Hall who had 346 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries, rushing for 5.2 yards per try. Senior Douglas Deloney had 263 rushing yards and one touchdown, while receiver CJ Williams had 147 yards and three touchdowns on just 18 carries, picking up 8.2 yards per attempt.

Leading the way in receiving this year was senior Weston Fields, who was a huge deep ball threat for the Wildcats. Fields had 712 yards and five touchdowns this year, averaging 71.2 yards per game and 21.6 yards per catch. Williams was the next leading receiver, picking up 458 yards on 46 grabs, while racking up seven touchdowns.

Other notables for Sulphur Springs this year were junior Landon Fields who 128 yards on 10 catches and junior Luke Caton who had 12 catches for 109 yards and one touchdown. Carson Fenton had 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 7 catches, and senior Colt Silman had 71 yards and one touchdown on four grabs.

Defensively the Wildcats had a strong year, giving their team chances to win multiple games throughout the season. While they got contributions from a number of their players, there are a few who stood out, even amongst their talented teammates.

Senior Korderrion Turner led the team with 70 tackles this season. He also had a pair of tackles for loss, as well as a pair of interceptions.

Just behind him was junior Riley Hammons who had 69 total tackles. Hammons had four of the teams eight interceptions and even had one fumble recovery.

Leading the way up front was junior Nick Cantillo who set the tone on the defensive line. Cantillo had 68 total tackles, including five tackles for loss, as well as a sack.

Other notables included Silman, who had 64 tackles, Griffin Crawford who had 58 tackles and Madison Martin, who had 41 tackles and two of his teams five sacks this year.

Despite a tough year from the Wildcats this season, they have plenty to hold their head up about heading into next season. With a roster that returns a ton of talent, Sulphur Springs will hope to correct some of their mistakes from this season and improve on their record next year.

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