|Cats stave off Trinity's surge|
|The Press - Sports|
|Written by Bob Gerard|
|Thursday, 15 September 2011 09:11|
It was definitely a tale of two football halves on Friday night at Memorial Stadium as the Baker High Wildcats ran up a 31-7 lead in the first half and then clawed their way to a 31-28 win over the defending state champion Trinity Conquerors.
The win brings the Cats to 2-0 against ranked opponents to start the season.
It was nearly impossible to shoe-horn another fan into the stadium September 9 as BCHS faced off against the #4 ranked Conquerors. Both teams were primed and ready for the game. BCHS beat Trinity on the road last fall and the visitors wanted desperately to return the favor.From the start, however, it looked like it might be a cakewalk for Baker High. Everything the Cats tried seemed to work. Trinity had obviously prepared for the passing game, and instead Coach Ryan Sulkowski hit them in the mouth with the running game.
Where Thomas Sirk and Kendrick Singleton connected in the 34-6 win over Atlanta Westminster, on Friday Sirk used his legs to run up, over, around and through the Conquerors in the first half.
The Wildcat defense came out of the chute fired up and aided by the penalties that plagued Trinity all night long, shutting down the Conquerors. The Wildcats moved the ball easily, with Sirk and Falon Lee cracking off 15-yard runs.
Sirk was a little off all night throwing the ball and overshot his receivers on the first possession. But his legs made up for it as BCHS drove to the 19-yard line before the drive stalled. Normally reliable Jeremy Wannamaker pulled the ball wide to keep the game scoreless.
But the Cats shut down Trinity in two more possessions and Sirk connected with Singleton in the corner of the end zone midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 score. That opened the floodgates.
Freshman CeCe Jefferson caused a fumble on the kickoff and the Wildcats got the ball back deep in Trinity territory at the 20-yard line. Sirk followed Braden Gray and Jordan Parker to the 5 and three plays later ran it in for the 14-0 lead.
Despite sacks from Wannamaker and Jefferson, quarterback Oshay Carter found Nick Washington to cut the lead to a touchdown at the start of the second quarter.
Wannamaker, who had touched the ball very little in the first game and in the first period, made the most of his carry on the next BCHS possession, breaking free for a 52-yard touchdown run.
The Cats added to the lead a couple of minutes later when Jared Lee picked off an errant Carter pass to give BCHS the ball at the 44-yard line. Sirk kept the ball on the first snap from center and out raced the defense for a 56-yard score and a 28-7 lead.
The Wildcats got the ball right back when Jefferson forced another fumble on the kickoff at the Trinity 16. The drive went nowhere, but Wannamaker converted a 28-yard field goal to put BCHS up 28-7.
Trinity gave a taste of what was to come in the second half when Lynn Griffin scored on a run from the “Wildcat” formation where the running back takes a direct snap from center.
Much of Friday’s Wildcat game was a mirror image of the Jaguar/Titans game on Sunday. In the first drive of the second half, BCHS marched all the way to the Trinity 5-yard line before the drive stalled and Trinity got the ball back on an interception in the end zone.
From then on it was all Conquerors.
You don’t get to be state champions by lying down and playing dead, and the stop revitalized the visitors. They found a hole in the Cat defense with the “Wildcat” formation and ran it again and again throughout the half for good yardage. Marvel Taylor got the first score on a 10-yard run and Nick Washington a second with 2:15 left in the game. The Conquerors went for two and got it to narrow the game to a field goal at 31-28.
Everyone in the stadium knew to expect the on-side kick except, it seemed, the officials. The ball bounced off a Trinity player before it went 10 yards but the officials gave the ball to the Conquerors.
The miscue fired up the BCHS defense. Kyle Anderson sacked Carter, and with the clock running Carter rolled out and threw the ball down field. Falon Lee stepped in front of the intended receiver and pulled in the interception to save the game for the Wildcats.
Sirk finished with 213 yards on 16 carries. Jefferson had an outstanding game with a pair of fumble recoveries and 2 ½ sacks.
The Cats have an open date this Friday before opening their district play on the road versus Clay County, a 34-27 winner over Ridgeview last weekend.
|Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 11:05|