Vincent edged by Isabella on road

Published 1:45 am Saturday, October 21, 2023

By CAREY REEDER | Special to the Reporter

MAPLESVILLE – Vincent High School let a 21-14 lead at halftime over Isabella High School slip away, falling 35-28 on the road on Oct. 20.

The win moves the Mustangs up to the three seed in the AHSAA Class 2A, Region 4 standings, and the Yellow Jackets to the four seed with one region game left for both teams.

Trailing 21-14 at halftime, the Mustangs erased the deficit quickly in the third quarter as Jediah Works returned a Vincent fumble 40 yards for a touchdown. Eli Kendrick punched in a short touchdown run to put Isabella on top 28-21 after three quarters.

“We played really hard tonight, and the difference in the game was that third quarter,” Vincent head coach Lucas Weatherford said. “We had five total turnovers in the second half, so we did everything we could to stack it against us. I am still proud of our guys because they kept fighting.”

The fourth quarter started with Isabella forcing two more Vincent turnovers, and the second leading to a 26-yard touchdown connection from Kendrick to Lee.

Vincent’s Casen Fields had a short touchdown run later in the fourth quarter, and the Yellow Jackets had the ball last with a chance to tie. Fields was injured on the first play of the final drive, leaving a hole in the Yellow Jackets attack for the tie. Lee’s second interception sealed the win for the Mustangs a few plays later.

The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and drove for six as Kendrick capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run to put Isabella up 7-0 where the score stood after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Vincent took the lead after a pair of rushing touchdowns by Rykelus Robertson, seven and 54 yards respectively.

Vincent added to their lead after recovering an onside kick and quarterback Casen Fields found Phoenix Maxwell for a long touchdown connection to go up 21-7.

Isabella composed themselves and put together a drive just before halftime that got Kendrick into the end zone from four yards out to make it a one possession game at halftime, 21-14.

While the loss ensured that Vincent would not finish in the top two of Region 4 and secure a home playoff game in the first round, Weatherford was proud of his team’s effort to get here and expressed confidence that the Jackets could compete in any environment in the playoffs.

“I think we have a really good region,” Weatherford said. “I told the guys ‘We are not dead,’ and we can go on the road and win that first-round game. Our region can be very competitive in the first round because we have very good teams. We have a lot to play for still, and I am proud of the guys for fighting to get in the playoffs. There was a time where Vincent was just hoping to get in the playoffs, now we are expected to be there.”

Vincent (6-3) travels to Thorsby High School on Oct. 27 in its next matchup and its final region game of the season.