Vincent drops heartbreaker against Talladega County Central

Vincent's Arshon Willis tries to break away from a defender in a battle with Talladega County Central Oct. 30. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Vincent’s Arshon Willis tries to break away from a defender in a battle with Talladega County Central Oct. 30. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

NEAL EMBRY/For the Reporter

There was no blown coverage.  No blown assignments.  The defense was in the quarterback’s face.  By all accounts, it appeared the Vincent Yellow Jackets had Thursday night’s matchup with the Talladega County Central Fighting Tigers won.

But then the unthinkable happened.  With 13 seconds left, Tigers quarterback Roderick Wells escaped pressure, got to the outside, chunked the ball in the end zone, where it fell into the hands of Jordan Swain for the go-ahead touchdown.

A kickoff and one play later, the Tigers walked away with a 42-40 road win to end their season at 6-4 and ending Vincent’s senior night with heartache.

“They just made a great football play.  I hate that anybody would have to lose a football game like that,” Vincent coach Jason Hill said.  “I’m really proud of how hard our guys played tonight.  I hope our guys will come into next week with a great attitude, and we’ll get better.”

The Jackets and Tigers spent much of Thursday night trading touchdowns in the frigid confines of Harold Garrett Stadium.  The Jackets struggled with turnovers, losing three fumbles on the night, while the Tigers failed to convert two extra-points and five two-point conversion attempts.

Wells finished with 169 total yards and four touchdowns, while Vincent quarterback Arshon Willis threw for 380 yards and five touchdowns, three of them to Jace Greene, who had 212 receiving yards on the night.

The initial kickoff was taken by Talladega County to the Vincent two-yard line, where Swain ran in the first score of the game.  The Jackets answered quickly on a touchdown run by Jacorey Roper.

At halftime, the Jackets led 34-24, but a strong rushing attack by the Tigers led the comeback.  Wells and running back Darrell Maple combined for more than 140 rushing yards and helped put their team in position to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

Down 40-30, the Tigers recovered a Vincent fumble at the Jacket’s eight-yard line, and punched it in from four yards out.  Once again, they failed to get the two-point conversion, but the Tigers defense made great plays on consecutive drives, leading to a Vincent punt and the fateful drive by the Tigers.

Although Thursday night’s loss ended the Jackets regular season, they’ll begin their quest for a state championship with a first-round game Nov. 7 against Washington County.