SHANE SHOEMAKER – Sports Writer
The Whitwell Tigers (7-2, 4-0) returned to the win column last Friday night by defeating the Chattanooga Prep Sentinels (2-7, 1-3), 29-26, ending their two-game losing skid.
The Sentinels scored 12 points in the first quarter and eight in the second, but 14 points from the Tigers in the second helped Whitwell stay within reach, resulting in a 20-14 score at the break. The Tigers’ second-quarter scores came from juniors Bennett McDougal and Brandon Easterly on 1-yard and 6-yard runs, with a successful two-point conversion on the second score by Adam McDougal after a failed attempt on the first.
The Tigers managed to keep the Sentinels scoreless in the third quarter, which proved crucial in the final result. However, the Tigers were fortunate when Therion Mordecai found himself in the end zone with just under eight minutes left in the quarter, giving his team a one-point lead.
The Sentinels weren’t finished, though. With four minutes left in regulation, they regained the lead with a 6-yard pass play, making it 26-21.
The Tigers had the final say of the night when Easterly found Wyatt Davis on a 16-yard reception with 49 seconds remaining. To secure at least a one-score lead, Bennett McDougal connected with Adam McDougal for a successful two-point conversion, resulting in the final score of 29-26.
The Tigers ran the ball 52 times for 308 yards compared to the Sentinels’ 17 attempts for 101 yards. The Sentinels outperformed the Tigers through the air, completing 10 passes for 174 yards compared to the Tigers’ five completions for 39 yards.
Both teams were equally penalized, amassing a staggering total of 22 penalties for 205 yards. Despite the Tigers’ defense allowing their season-high points total to be surpassed in the last three weeks (19, 22, 26), they managed to create one interception and force two fumbles, recovering one. With the Tigers securing a three-point victory over the Sentinels, their hopes for a region championship remain alive as they are still undefeated in region play, with one game left against cross-town rivals, the South Pittsburg Pirates (9-0, 4-0).
The Tigers will have to make the 18-mile road trip to face a Pirates team that averages over 46 points per game and allows just over four.
~photos courtesy of Kristie Eggert