Straughn edges Wicksburg

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hank Peeples hauls in a pass from Jacob Hawkins.

Hank Peeples hauls in a pass from Jacob Hawkins.

The Straughn Tigers pulled out a 35-34 victory over Class 3A, Region 2 opponent Wicksburg on Friday night at Tiger Stadium in Straughn.

Wicksburg went on top early in the ball game, but the Tigers responded with a score in the waning minutes of the first half to tie the game at 14-14.

Matt Worley had a 1-yard touchdown run to open up the scoring for Straughn, and Brock Hammett scored on 10-yard run to close out the opening half.

Worley added a two-point conversion on the second touchdown to knot the game 14-14 heading into halftime.

The Tigers held Wicksburg to a three-and-out to start the second half, and wasted little time scoring on offense.

Hammett faked the handoff up the middle and then burst around the left edge for a 64-yard touchdown run.

Wicksburg took back over, but didn’t hold on to the ball long as big hit from a Tiger defender jarred the ball loose on the second play. Straughn recovered the fumble and went straight back to work.

On the Tigers’ first play of the drive, Hammett found Corey Matrullo all alone on the outside. Matrulle hauled in the pass, made a few moves up the sideline and then blazed his way 55 yards for the score. Straughn missed the extra point attempt, but led Wicksburg 27-14 with 9:03 left in the third quarter.

Wicksburg wasn’t going to let the Tigers run away with the game and answered back with a long scoring drive.

Tucker Driskell picked up a couple of first downs passing the ball, and Ethan Wells capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Ashton White tacked on the extra point to leave Wicksburg trailing 27-21.

Straughn went straight back to work following the Wicksburg touchdown.

Facing a third-and-long situation, Straughn dialed up a little trickery to pick up the first down and much more.

Hammett handed the ball to Jacob Hawkins on a reverse, and then Hawkins loaded up and fired a pray down field. Somehow, out of nowhere, Hank Peeples hauled in the pass and raced 70 yards before being drug down on the 1-yard line.

Worley finished off the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone.

Wicksburg responded with a strong scoring drive capped off by a 1-yard run from Driskell. White’s extra left Wicksburg trailing 35-27.

Wicksburg then forced a turnover on downs from Straughn and regained possession with 6:58 left in the game.

Wicksburg used a little trickery as well as Wells launched a pass down field that set his team up inside the Straughn 15-yard line.

Shawn Bowden tacked on the score from 7 yards out a few plays later to cut the Straughn led down to one. Bowden attempted a two-point conversion for the lead, but the Tiger defense stopped him well short of the end zone to leave Straughn on top 35-34 with 2:54 left.

Wicksburg forced a punt, but Straughn’s Triston Cobb pinned Wicksburg deep with a booming kick.

Wicksburg drove down the field with no timeouts remaining for a chance to take a very late lead.

Wicksburg almost got a big catch inside the Straughn 10-yard line, but a huge hit from Cobb jarred the ball loose and helped force a field goal attempt from Wicksburg.

With 17.4 seconds left on the clock, Wicksburg White lined up for a 30-yard attempt, but the seventh grade girl’s attempt came up short.

Straughn was able to just take a knee to escape with a 35-34 victory.

“I thought we did a pretty good job in the second half,” Straughn head coach Chris Wilson said. “We kind of got a little side tracked after going up by two scores, and we kind of let them hang around. We can’t do that. We have to learn to have that killer instinct.”