2005-11-24 / Sports

Dramatic finish sends Tigers to Dome to face Bowdon

TIGER QUARTERBACK CLETE WILSON ROLLS OUT TO PASS BEFORE SAVANNAH COUNTRY DAY CLOSES IN His pass to Gary Wilburn late in the fourth quarter turned the game around and set up the dramatic finish. TIGER QUARTERBACK CLETE WILSON ROLLS OUT TO PASS BEFORE SAVANNAH COUNTRY DAY CLOSES IN His pass to Gary Wilburn late in the fourth quarter turned the game around and set up the dramatic finish. The Washington-Wilkes Tigers were meant to go to the Georgia Dome this year.

How else can you explain the incredible season that has led them to the semifinals in Atlanta this weekend? Practically everything that can be seems to be working against the Tigers this year. Injuries have and continue to plague the team. Discipline problems have seen players dismissed from the team. In all, there are now five starting players missing from the lineup. These players have never been to the Dome before and will be fighting to keep their minds on the game. The opponent, Bowdon, has been to the Dome three out of the last five years and has been ranked No. 1 practically all this year. The trip, the timing, the turf, and the talk all contribute to the distraction (much worse than Homecoming) leading up to the game.

All season long it seem that one monster after another has risen to try and knock down the W-W Tigers.

QUIENTELLE DUNN BLASTS PAST SCD He set up the Tigers’ big turnaround touchdown late in the game. QUIENTELLE DUNN BLASTS PAST SCD He set up the Tigers’ big turnaround touchdown late in the game. But as all these adversities have come along, so have the Tigers risen to the challenge and found a way to move toward their goal anyway. Head Coach Russell Morgan said at the beginning of the season that this team had the best attitude and the best leadership he had seen in a while and all that is now paying off.

The unbelievable turnaround of last Friday night will be remembered as one of the most dramatic and exciting finishes ever to take place at Tiger Stadium.

Having never led throughout more than 45 minutes of the football game, the Tiger defense continued dominate and allowed Savannah Country Day only 38 yards of total offense in the second half. Throughout the first half the two teams had been neck-and-neck and SCD took the lead 10-7 on a field goal with less than a minute to go before the half.

In the second half, while the Tiger defense was totally dominant of the SCD offense, W-W just couldn’t seem to sustain a drive. Then, finally, with two-and-a-half minutes to go and things getting desperate, Quarterback Clete Wilson dropped back on a bold fourth-and-18 conversion attempt and let the ball fly. An SCD defender and Gary Wilburn went up for the reception and Wilburn got the call giving the Tigers the ball on the nine-yard line. Two plays later Wilson scored on a keeper that had been set up by Quientelle Dunn’s eight-yard run on the previous play.

Savannah Country Day’s highly touted super speedster Josh Moesch (26) is all tangled up in a maze of W-W Tiger Defense and can’t hold on to the ball. The Tiger D was Dominant throughout last Friday’s game. Savannah Country Day’s highly touted super speedster Josh Moesch (26) is all tangled up in a maze of W-W Tiger Defense and can’t hold on to the ball. The Tiger D was Dominant throughout last Friday’s game. After that the Tigers could do no wrong. SCD tried desperately to get some offense going but the W-W defense just kept looking better and better. It was three-and-out for SCD and then the Tiger offense sent Jareon Small 43 yards for another touchdown with 1:22 to go.

SCD continued its desperation passing and on the last play of the game, Dunn intercepted and returned it 50 yards for a third touchdown in less than two-and-a-half minutes.

Final score: 27-10.

“I was proud to see our kids not quit and keep fighting and keep scrapping because it looked gloomy there for a while,” Morgan said. “Offensively we moved the ball when we had it, we just would shoot ourselves in the foot. We had several possessions where it was two or three first downs and then a 15yard penalty. Or we’d get down pretty close and fumble. We can’t do that against good football teams,” he said. “Luckily, our defense played outstanding the last three quarters of the game,” he added.

Now it’s time to concentrate on the game to come at the Georgia Dome against the Red Devils of Bowdon. At 12-1, Bowdon has been ranked No. 1 practically all year and lost only to AAA Central Carrollton. On paper, these Red Devils appear very similar to the Tigers.

“Bowdon may be the best offensive team we’ve seen this year,” Morgan commented. “Bowdon is right up there with Lincolnton. They have three running backs that can break one at any second and they are good-sized, physical running backs, not like the little guy from Savannah Country. You had better put a lick on these guys,” he said.

Bowdon runs a Wing-T offense and they don’t rely very heavily on their passing game. On defense, their 4-4 looks a lot like a 6-2 sometimes because they walk up the outside linebackers.

“We are a lot alike and I’m expecting it to be just a slugfest,” Morgan said. “Size-wise we probably have a little advantage and they had a little advantage speed-wise. So I expect it to be one heck of a ball game.”

Morgan said that advance tickets are available but getting them may be tricky due to the holidays. The price, as set by the GHSA, is $15 and tickets are available at Bee Southern during the annual Candlelight Shopping on The Square (Tuesday, 6-9 p.m.) and at the WWCHS office on Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

“We really appreciate the fan support at the pep rally downtown last week and at the ball game,” Morgan commented. “I don’t know where everybody came from but it looked like our crowd grew in the fourth quarter. It was really great.”

The Tigers are going to need that kind of fan support again this Saturday. Let’s hope they get it.

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