Wildwood, FL. Written By: Wes Trotta
On Saturday night, the Leesburg Yellow Jackets made the quick trip to Wildwood to face the Wildcats. The Wildcats struggled to get things going, but managed to overcome turnovers to eventually beat the Yellow Jackets, 18-14.
The first half of this game was a ground and pound battle, with the Yellow Jackets being the far more successful team. Their first drive of the game was capped off by running back Isaiah Byrd, who powered his way into the end zone on strong goal line run.
Having Byrd, along with fellow running backs Eric Coffie and Sabari Boone, on the field at the same time worked early and often. The three running backs all bring a different set of skills.
Byrd has blend of size speed and power. Coffie makes it difficult for defenders to grasp with his elusiveness. Boone just lowers his shoulders and no one could stop him in his tracks, he may not be the most explosive, but is reliable when they need yards.
Based on those three’s success, it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Wildcats. The defense gave up another touchdown run to Byrd, putting them down 14-0 late in the second.
A couple splash plays later and the Wildcats were knocking on the door. Until the Yellow Jackets punched the ball loose to regain possession. All night, the Wildcats struggled with ball security.
Coming out of halftime down 14, coach Bynum needed his defense to step up. They did exactly that by shutting the Yellow Jackets out in the second half.
With the Yellow Jackets run game struggling, The Wildcats were able to make enough plays to capitalize.
Wildcats running back Devin Pinkard scored the team’s first touchdown on an impressive run. Pinkard got to the edge where he was met by some swarming Yellow Jackets. He charged through and reached for the goal line. The Wildcats were then unsuccessful on the two-point attempt.
Trailing 14-6 after Pinkard’s run, the Wildcats still had plenty of time. However, that time seemed to be used by both teams forcing turnovers but not capitalizing.
After another turnover, the Wildcats were in ideal field position and needed to make a play. That play started with quarterback Alfred Corbin taking the snap and sprinting to his right. With defenders closing in, he found receiver T.J. Snowden in the back of the end zone.
The Yellow Jackets still held a 14-12 lead after another failed two-point attempt.
With time dwindling and the Yellow Jackets defense continuing to stifle the Wildcats offense, it seemed unlikely they would score again. Enter T.J. Snowden, again.
With just over a minute left in the game, he stood alone waiting for the Yellow Jackets punt. As he secured the ball, he took off. Pasting everyone on his way to the end zone. This play caused the Wildcats sideline to erupt and the fans behind them matched their excitement.
After a third failed two-point attempt, the Wildcats finally led 18-14 with a minute to go. One stop was all they needed, and that’s what they got. Another forced fumble and recovery wrapped the game up.
A game that was filled with defensive plays from the beginning, came to the end with one.
Player of the game: T.J. Snowden: 1 touchdown catch and the go-ahead punt return.