The Wildcats Football Team’s defense deserved a better fate on a rainy Friday night, Oct. 25, at Gerald Prim Stadium. Despite only one offensive touchdown, the Greenville Lions outscored the Wildcats, 25-13 using a defensive touchdown and two kickoff returns for scores.
The Lions, who have not made the playoffs since 2003, moved one step closer Friday night. The Lions improved to 4-2 in district play and they remain in the fourth and final playoff slot. The Lions’ season record is 5-3.
The Wildcats were eliminated from the playoff race with the loss. They are now 1-5 in district play and 1-7 for the season.
The Wildcats and the Lions opened the first quarter with both team’s defenses holding the offenses in check. Greenville broke through on defense. Lions’ cornerback Tyrecus Davis intercepted a Wildcats’ pass and ran it into the end zone for a pick six. The Lions were up 7-0 with 2:59 left in the first period.
The Wildcats answered with a score of their own. Using senior Noe Ponce at quarterback, the Wildcats covered 63 yards to the end zone. Senior back Da’Korian Choc Sims had a long run inside the ten and junior back Caden Davis ran 6 yards for the touchdown. The score was tied at 7-7 with just :47 left in quarter number one.
Greenville broke the tie with their only scoring drive of the night. Flanker Miles Denson took a hand-off on a reverse and went 11 yards for the TD. Greenville’s extra point kick was no good, but the Lions led, 13-7 with 9:55 left in the second quarter.
The Wildcats took the ball down close to the goal line before bogging down. Senior kicker Brandon Zavala kicked a 24 yard field goal to cut the Lions lead to 13-10 with 5:25 left in the second quarter. The game remained Greenville 13, Sulphur Springs 10, at the half. Unofficial stats showed Greenville with only about 78 first half yards.
The second half has been cruel to the Wildcats several times this season and that was the case again Friday night. The Wildcats kicked off to a Lions’ up man who muffed the ball. Speedy Denson picked up the ball, found a seam and went about 70 yards for a touchdown. Greenville missed another extra point kick, but led 19-10 with just 11 seconds gone in the third quarter.
The Wildcats cranked up another drive but, again, bogged down near the goal line. Zavala kicked another 24 yard field goal to reduce the Lions lead to 19-13, with 7:03 left in the third quarter. The Wildcats attempt at an onside kick blew up on them. Davis, who had the pick six, secured the ball, bounced off tacklers and went about 55 yards for a kickoff return touchdown. Greenville failed on yet another extra point kick, but their lead was now 25-13, with 6:55 left in the third quarter.
The Lions defense put the clamps on the Wildcats offense and also got their second interception of the night. The Greenville offense did a masterful job of hogging the ball and kept the ball on the ground to drain the clock. Greenville won, 25-13.
Prior to the game, four former Wildcats were inducted into the Wildcat Hall of Honor: Paul Buchanan, football, Class of 1953; Cody Payne, basketball, Class of 1997; Tyrik Rollison, football, Class of 2009; and Jace Jackson, football, Class of 2009.
While the Lions seek to wrap up a playoff spot at home against Forney next Friday, the Wildcats will have a pride game on the road at Kaufman next week. Both teams have only one victory this season.