Wildcats top Central by 3

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — A fourth quarter field goal meant the deciding points in the Shelby County Wildcats’ 17-14 win over the Central Tuscaloosa Falcons Friday night, Oct. 2.

In a fairly long home stand, the Wildcats continue to win close games thanks in no small part to their defense, as key interceptions help shut down the Falcons’ game plan.

“Our defensive secondary, Isaac Montgomery, Tyrese Goodman, Kaden Cardwell and Seth Hall, continue each and every week to play at a high level,” said Shelby County coach Heath Childers after the game. “I believe we have 17 interceptions through six games, which is outstanding. Those guys do a great job of taking away the big play from our opponents and making plays on the ball.”

He said the decision to kick a field goal with 1:53 remaining in the fourth quarter was not a hard one, as he is confident in his kicker Kai Barnett.

“He’s got a strong leg and he’s fairly accurate,” Childers said. “I knew if we got it protected and did not let somebody run though that Kai was going to make the field goal, because he was well within his range.”

Central Tuscaloosa’s Markelious Furr was first to cross the goal line in the first quarter, but Shelby County’s Evan Joiner was quick to answer with a short touchdown run of his own, with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.

Cue the Wildcat defense. Central completed a big pass but the play was called back due to a holding penalty. Then Cardwell made the first big interception of the night, setting up another scoring drive for the Wildcats—another short run courtesy of Joiner, who alongside Jacob Fox was filling in for an injured Raheem Montgomery, still recovering from last week.

Goodman made the second interception of the night, but the Wildcats failed to capitalize this time as Central’s Taquell Giles recovered a fumble. Then, Furr scored on a short touchdown run to tie the game at 14 apiece.

The score would remain at 14-14 throughout the third. With just 2 seconds left in the quarter, Goodman would intercept again but the Wildcats had to punt it away. Furr made a huge run down the left side, but Central soon found themselves in a fourth down situation—they went for it and lost with an incomplete pass.

Connor Aderholt connected with Isaac Montgomery for a pass, getting the Wildcats down to about the Falcon 20-yard line. As the clock stood at 1:53, the decision was made to go for three and Barnett did not disappoint.

The Falcons’ final possession ended with an incomplete pass as Shelby County took over with 1:09 left to play.

Next week the Wildcats host Marbury.