By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
All losses are tough, but Friday night’s was especially tough for the Noxapater Tigers.
After falling behind early, Noxapater fought back to hold a 19-7 lead going into the fourth quarter and looked as if it would come away with its first win of 2013. But East Webster had other ideas, as the visiting Wolverines rallied for a dramatic 20-19 win.
“We were in control of the game, but we just let it get away from us,” said Noxapater head coach Justin Hunter. “The kids played hard, but East Webster made some plays later that turned the momentum. We had a chance to score on our last possession, but just couldn’t get it done.”
East Webster scored on a 2-yard run by quarterback Jack Wilson with 10:20 to go in the game, and then took the lead for good on a 5-yard run by Deangelo Liggins with 2:15 left in the contest to earn the win.
But even after the EW score, Noxapater had its chances. The Tigers returned the kickoff back to its own 40-yard line and moved it to the East Webster 38 with time running down before a 2-yard loss on a running play and three incomplete passes ended Noxapater’s comeback hopes.
“I will give East Webster credit, they got the breaks at the end and took advantage of it,” Hunter said.
The Wolverines used a pair of big fourth-quarter plays that woven together led to the winning East Webster touchdown. First EW blocked a punt that put the Wolverines in good scoring position. However Noxapater’s Jarious Carter intercepted a Wilson pass in the end zone to end the threat.
Two plays later Noxapater fumbled the ball away and East Webster found itself in good field position just outside the Tigers 30-yard line. EW then capped the short drive with Liggins’ touchdown run.
“The blocked punt really turned things around,” Hunter said. “It gave them some momentum and they took advantage of it.”
East Webster took an early 7-0 lead and dominated most of the first half before the Tigers put together an impressive 99-yard drive to close out the first half on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tyrell Carter to Keontae Daniels to cut the Wolverines’ halftime advantage to 7-6.
“That really kind of got us going and we had momentum going into the second half,” Hunter said.
And the Tigers took advantage of it as Carter scored on a 3-yard run to make it 12-6 midway in the third quarter and Vonte Woods scored on a 13-yard run to go up 19-7 with 28 seconds left in the third.
Carter finished the night with 97 rushing yards on 17 carries and completed seven-of-21 passes for 103 yards. Vonte Woods rushed for 94 yards on 19 attempts and had one catch for 22 yards. Justin Robertson had three receptions for 26 yards, David Parker one for 24, Marshall Kugle one for 11 and Daniels had one for 10 yards.
Defensively Robertson had 12 tackles, while Jacoby Lewis had 11 tackles, including a sack and two tackles for loss. Trevara Miller had 10 tackles with a sack and a tackle for loss, while Parker had eight tackles.
Up next for Noxapater is a trip to Vardaman to take on the Rams at 7 p.m. The game was a late addition to the schedule for the Tigers.