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Wilcox County Patriots come up just short at Charlton

Staff Reports

FOLKSTON— The Wilcox County Patriots traveled down to Folkston on Saturday night to play the Charlton County Indians (5-2) for a region contest that was moved from Friday night due to the effects of Hurricane Michael. The Patriots put in a good effort on the road against the strong opponent, but the Indians held off Wilcox 35-28 in the end.

The Patriots opened the game with possession of the ball but were held to a punt just three plays into the drive. The Indians took over at their own 42-yard line after the punt and went to work on a six play-scoring drive for the first points of the night. Charlton County’s first touchdown came on a short run and the extra point put the Indians ahead 7-0 about five minutes into the first quarter.

The Patriots got into Charlton territory on the subsequent drive after two runs from Desmond Tisdol that resulted in 29 yards plus another 15 due to a penalty on Charlton. Wilcox ultimately had a fourth down and seven yards to go situation at the Indian 30-yard line but Charlton came up with the stop and took over possession of the ball.

Six plays later, Charlton extended the lead with a 12-yard touchdown run. The Indians were up 14-0 near the three-minute mark of the first quarter.

Matt McAdoo ran the ensuing kickoff out 70 yards to the Charlton 25-yard line to set the Patriots up in great field position. Charlton once again did just enough to hold the Patriots to a turnover on downs, however.

The Indians then added to their lead with a 35-yard touchdown run four plays into the second quarter. Charlton led 20-0 just over a minute into the second period.

Wilcox quickly responded on the drive that followed when quarterback Noah Hollingsworth threw to Martez Thrower for what ended up resulting in a long 88-yard touchdown pass. Manny Carrillo then added the extra point to cut the Charlton lead to 20-7 with just over nine minutes to go in the first half.

Charlton County drove all the way down inside the Wilcox 25-yard line on the subsequent drive, but the Wilcox defense forced a turnover on downs led by tackles from Tisdol, Lagan Luke, Cameron Patterson and EJ Howard on the drive.

The Patriot offense then took over and went to work on a 13-play scoring drive that spanned 77 yards. Hollingsworth and Tisdol chipped in with a good portion of the yards on the ground, while catches from Tisdol and Howard each picked up important first downs to keep the possession going. Tisdol capped off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run and Carrillo’s point after made the score 20-14 in favor of Charlton with just over a minute to go in the first half.

The Indians attempted to add to their lead just before halftime, but McAdoo came up with an interception to stop the drive and the Patriots went into halftime with the early 20-point deficit trimmed down to just six.

Charlton County received the second half kickoff and quickly added to their lead with a 12-yard touchdown run. The subsequent two-point conversion put the Indians ahead 28-14 just three minutes into the third quarter.

A Wilcox punt on the next drive allowed Charlton to increase the lead out to 21 points on a 24-yard touchdown run. Wilcox trailed 35-14 with about four and a half minutes to play in the third period, but they continued to battle and quickly responded to cut into the deficit again.

Branson Owens returned the ensuing kickoff for 17 yards out to the Wilcox 41-yard line and the Patriot offense used a pair of big plays to get deep into Charlton territory. Hollingsworth picked up 24 yards on a run for the biggest play of the drive. The quarterback then threw to Howard for a gain of 16 yards three plays later that put Wilcox at the Charlton 16-yard line. A penalty on the Indians moved the Patriots closer to the end zone, and Hollingsworth threw a pass to Thrower from nine yards out for the touchdown to cap off the scoring drive. Carrillo knocked the point after through the uprights to cut the Indian lead to 35-21 with just over a minute to go in the third quarter.

Wilcox quickly forced a Charlton turnover on downs early in the fourth quarter to set their offense up with good field position once more, but several penalty calls forced the Patriots into a difficult first down and 80 yards to go situation, and they ultimately had to punt to the Indians to end the drive.

Charlton ran a good portion of the time off the clock on their subsequent drive and finally punted back to Wilcox with just over two and a half minutes to go in the contest.

Hollingsworth threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Howard with eight seconds to play in the game, and Carrillo added his fourth PAT of the night to make the score 35-28.

The subsequent onside kick attempt was unsuccessful and Charlton ran the last few seconds off the clock to hold on for the win 35-28.

Hollingsworth finished the game with eight completions on 17 pass attempts for 163 yards and the three touchdown passes, while also running for 102 yards on 17 attempts. Tisdol finished the contest with 11 carries for 49 yards with one touchdown and a reception for 14 yards. McAdoo, Jacquarius Dixon, JayQuan Brown and Kemorrian Larkin each chipped in with a few rushing yards apiece. Thrower finished with the two touchdown catches and a total of 96 receiving yards, while Howard finished the night with four catches for 54 yards and one touchdown.

Tisdol led the Patriot defense with eight total tackles and a forced fumble. Owens finished with seven total tackles including one for a loss, while Luke pitched in with five and combined with JayQuan Brown for a sack. Hollingsworth, Thrower, Patterson, and Michael Archer all finished with four total tackles each, and Keaun Brown had three tackles.

The Patriots are now 4-3 overall on the season and were ranked at number 18 after the most recent playoff rankings. Wilcox will host region opponent Irwin County (7-0, ranked number one in single A) this Friday night.