FORT PAYNE – The TopCat Trophy changed hands Friday night after a 42-7 blowout victory by the Fort Payne Wildcats over the Scottsboro Wildcats.
Fort Payne got things rolling their way just a few minutes into Friday’s rivalry matchup and never looked back.
After forcing a quick 3-and-out on defense, Fort Payne quarterback J.D. Blalock fired a pass over the middle to senior receiver Matthew Shaddix, who then raced 52 yards to the end zone.
Alex McPherson then nailed his first of six PATs on the night to put Fort Payne up 7-0 less than four minutes into the game.
Fort Payne’s next scoring drive came at the start of the second quarter after a short Scottsboro punt set up the home team’s offense from midfield.
A pair of 13-yard runs put them in scoring range before a chop block penalty backed them up to the Scottsboro 34-yard line. Fort Payne overcame that call a play later though when another short completion to Shaddix saw him break past his defender and race downfield for a 34-yard score, which stretched the lead to 14 with 9:07 left in the first half.
Scottsboro moved the chains once on their next drive before having to punt it away again. Fort Payne’s next offensive then nearly added to their lead when junior tailback Hunter Love rumbled his way through several defenders on a 63-yard gallop that ended inside the 5-yard line. Darwin Camp punched the ball into the end zone a play later from two yards out to stretch the lead to 21.
Another 3-and-out by the Fort Payne defense gave their offense one last chance to pad their lead before the break.
That following drive saw Fort Payne convert on 3rd-and-8 near midfield on a 25-yard reception from Blalock to Shaddix.
Blalock then called his own number a play later and juked back a pair of Scottsboro defenders on a 13-yard scramble.
Four plays later, Shaddix scored for a third time in the half on a 3-yard touchdown carry to make the score 28-0 at halftime.
Fort Payne kept that momentum rolling to start the second half. They caught a break on their third play of the drive when a pass over the middle was intercepted, but then was negated by a pass interference call against Scottsboro. Three plays later, senior wideout Carter Pinholster snagged a pass and barreled through a pair of defenders for a 30-yard gain down the right sideline.
Six plays later, Shaddix took a direct snap and scored from nine yards out to make the score 35-0 with 6:56 left in the third.
Scottsboro answered with their lone scoring drive of the night, which covered 80 yards and lasted 14 plays. The touchdown came on a 2-yard dive by quarterback Chris Manning.
Fort Payne answered right back with a 9-play, 68-yard scoring drive that ended when Blalock hit Shaddix with a pass in the back of the end zone from 19 yards out with 8:25 left to play.
Scottsboro then drove all the way down inside the 10-yard line before the Fort Payne defense came up with a fourth-down stop to seal the win.
Shaddix scored five total touchdowns catching and running the ball. He hauled in seven passes for 147 yards and three scores and ran the ball seven times for 58 yards and two more scores.
Blalock completed 9-of-15 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
Pinholster had two receptions for 35 yards and Love finished with 126 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Fort Payne enters regional play next week in their first road game of the year at Albertville.