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Wilcox Patriots open region play with big win over Lanier

LAKELAND- The Wilcox County Patriots started their region schedule off with a blowout victory over the Lanier County Bulldogs on Friday night in Lakeland. Wilcox jumped out to a 27-0 first quarter lead before ending the contest with a 61-22 win. The most notable story of the night was an achievement made by Patriot kicker, Kaitlyn Tejeda, who became the first female player to score in Wilcox County High School football history after successfully making an extra point during the first half.

The first score of the night for Wilcox came on a safety, caused by a tackle by Azavion Deans for a 2-0 Patriot lead around four minutes into the game. The Patriots added four touchdowns in the first quarter to take complete control of the game.

Justin Moore scored the first touchdown of the night on a two-yard run at the 7:14 mark of the first quarter for an 8-0 Wilcox lead. Less than a minute later, Moore intercepted a Lanier County pass attempt and returned it for a touchdown for a 14-0 lead.

The next score came on a 70-yard punt return touchdown by Matt McAdoo, and the final touchdown of the quarter came on a five-yard run by Moore. Manny Carrillo made the point after to put the Patriots ahead 27-0 near the end of the first quarter.

Moore continued his productive night when he picked up a Bulldog fumble and returned it for a quick touchdown a couple of minutes into the second quarter. Carrillo’s ensuing extra point was successful and Wilcox led 34-0 with 10 minutes to play in the first half.

The final Patriot touchdown of the first half was a 27-yard touchdown pass from Noah Hollingsworth to JayQuan Brown. Tejeda was sent in for the subsequent extra point, and she put it through the uprights for a 41-0 Patriot lead with less than seven minutes to go in the second quarter.

Lanier County picked up late scores in the first half on a long touchdown pass and a fumble return for a touchdown, but Wilcox held a 41-14 advantage going into the halftime break.

Desmond Tisdol opened the second half scoring for Wilcox County with a 14-yard touchdown run for a 48-14 lead. The Patriots then added two more defensive touchdowns later in the third quarter to finish off their scoring for the night. Branson Owens forced a Bulldog fumble, and McAdoo picked the loose ball up and took it in for the first defensive score of the quarter, which gave the Patriots a 54-14 lead. Owens then intercepted a pass a few plays later and returned it for a touchdown. Wilcox led 61-14 heading into the final quarter.

Lanier County added one last score on a short touchdown run and two-point conversion for a final score line of 61-22 in favor of Wilcox.

Moore finished the game with four total touchdowns, the two rushing scores on offense, plus the interception and fumble returns. The Patriot defensive unit as a whole scored four touchdowns and the safety, while holding the Bulldogs to nine rushing yards and 140 total yards on the night.

Tisdol had seven tackles, two for a loss of yards, a forced fumble and one sack, while Deans finished the game with five total tackles and a sack. JayQuan Brown and Kemorrian Larkin each had four tackles on the night for the Wilcox defense.

On offense, Hollingsworth completed six out of his seven passes in the game for 110 yards and the touchdown pass to Brown. EJ Howard was on the receiving end of three of those passes for a total of 40 yards, while Martez Thrower and Christian Freeman also had catches in the game. Tisdol was the leading rusher for the Patriots with 86 yards and one touchdown on six carries.

Wilcox County now has a 3-1 record so far this season with a 1-0 mark in region play. They will be back home for a tough test this Friday night when they take on region opponent, and defending class A state champions, Clinch County (3-1). Clinch County lost to Irwin County 21-3 this past Friday night.

This season’s first GHSA class A power rankings were released earlier this week and had the Patriots ranked at number 20, with Clinch County at number five.