JACKSONVILLE, Alabama -- Quarterback Tyquan Rawls ran for two and threw for another touchdown as Wetumpka defeated Buckhorn 44-28 at Jacksonville State University Friday night. Running back Terrance Thomas broke loose in the ground game with a rushing touchdown and a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Indians.
Wetumpka scored early in the game and didn't trail the whole game as the Indians young defense held their own in this game as the offense did its usual thing. "I saw a lot of fight and a bounce back from a very tough loss," said Indians head coach Tim Perry. "We had opportunities to win that game last week, but we have great leadership and came back this week on a short week and did a great job. We put last week behind us and just had to focus on this team and we knew they were much improved but we did what we needed to do to get this win. I'm proud of our guys the way they played tonight."
Wetumpka (3-2, 1-1) scored first in the game. Rawls hit Dvenio Davis in the corner of the endzone on a 24-yard touchdown pass play for the Indians with 11:14 left in the first quarter. With the score, Wetumpka led 7-0. After a couple of traded punts from both teams, Wetumpka put another drive together and scored on a Rawls 6-yard run with 4:29 left in the first quarter. With the score, the Indians took a 14-0 lead.
With :28 seconds to go in the second quarter, Buckhorn drove the field and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Rayland Woods. A Brandon McNeal to Riley Irwin pass setup the touchdown as Irwin fought after the reception down to the Indians 1-yard line. On the next play Woods scored the touchdown. With the score, Wetumpka lead was trimmed to 14-6 as the extra point was missed.
Wetumpka and their high powered offense can score fast and fast is what they did right before halftime. Three plays later with only :12 seconds left on the clock Rawls handed off to Brandon Bowan on a reverse and Bowan threw deep to Davis for a 46-yard touchdown pass play for the Indians. With the score, the Indians took a 21-6 halftime lead and took all the momentum out of the sails of the Buckhorn score just a few seconds before.
In the second half, Buckhorn scored with 6:06 left in the third quarter on a McNeal 11-yard touchdown run for the Bucks. With the Buckhorn score, the Wetumpka lead was down to 21-13. Wetumpka answered with their own scoring drive on a Rawls 6-yard touchdown run for the Indians with 5:11 left in the third quarter. With the Wetumpka score, the Indians led 28-13.
With :33 seconds left in the third quarter, Thomas scored on a 6-yard run from the wildcat position and the Indians led 35-13. "I needed some momentum in this game and I think that I came out with it tonight," said the Indians RB Thomas. "I'm going to keep going on from here. This was a big game for us to bounce back from our loss to Opelika last week. I think we had good focus and did the things we needed to do to get the win tonight."
With 9:18 left in the fourth quarter, Zach Grindle kicked his career long 45-yard field goal and it could have been good from 55-yards. Gringle has a 30-plus on his ACT and did a great job on punts with the Indians. With the Indians score, Wetumpka took a 38-13 lead. "Our defense came out and played hard, made stops when we needed to," said DL Brentoni Stoudemire. "We had a few breakdowns in the first half, but made the neccesary adjustments in the second half. We played hard like we needed to. We lost a game or two the last two years, so I told my teammates just to stay up. Keep your head up. Just tell the young guys to play fast because you're going to make mistakes but capitalize it on making your best play your next play."
With 2:24 left in the game, McNeal to Austin Wilson on a 13-yard touchdown pass play for the Bucks. A Dylan Tucker 2-point reception from McNeal cut the Indians lead to 38-21. Buckhorn converted an onside kick and with :06 left in the game, McNeal to Irwin on a 10-yard touchdown play cut the lead to 38-28, but on the ensuing kickoff Thomas took the 75-yard kickoff return to the house as time expired. "I finally got to return a kickoff since he was putting them into the end zone," added Thomas. "I just saw an opening and my guys gave me some great blocks and I just hit the hole as fast as I could go and looked for the end zone." With the score, Wetumpka took home the 44-28 win over Buckhorn.
Up next for both teams, Wetumpka will host Prattville and will host Class 7A Sparkman.