Darrell Prater rushed for two touchdowns, Alex McPherson kicked two field goals and the Fort Payne Wildcats earned their first win and first Class 6A, Region 7 victory with a 27-14 triumph against the Springville Tigers at Tiger Stadium on Friday night.
The Wildcats (1-3, 1-1 6A, Region 7) settled for a McPherson field goal that extended their lead to 13-7 with 5:14 left in the third quarter after Seth Williams recorded an interception.
An Alex Akins touchdown run and a Prater 2-point conversion run gave Fort Payne a 21-7 lead with 2:27 to go in the third.
Caden Kilgore recovered a Springville fumble with 8:04 left in regulation, setting up the Wildcats on Springville’s 39-yard line.
A couple of strong carries by Akins set up a 3-yard scoring run by Prater with 5:48 remaining.
The ensuing extra-point kick attempt failed after a low snap, keeping Fort Payne armed with a 27-7 advantage.
Stephen Morrison scored on a run up the middle on third-and-goal with 3:12 to play. The PAT kick cut the deficit to 27-14.
McPherson kicked a field goal from beyond Springville’s 40-yard line with 30 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Wildcats a 10-7 advantage at intermission.
Prater capped Fort Payne’s opening series with a 4-yard scoring run up the middle. On a second-and-goal play from the Tigers’ 4, Prater took the handoff and rumbled ahead for the score with 6:55 left in the quarter. Prater’s touchdown run was the finishing touch on a 10-play, 40-yard drive.
Springville converted twice on third down on its first series before fumbling the ball away.
Heisman Brown collected the loose ball for the Wildcats at the Fort Payne 39, but the jolt from the defensive play was short-lived, as the Tigers forced a fumble on Fort Payne’s first snap and recovered at the Fort Payne 41.
The Fort Payne defense answered again later in the drive when Devin Wells made a third-down tackle to force a punt at the 2:27 mark of the first quarter.
The Wildcats scooped up a second Springville fumble at the 6:31 mark of the second period, but the offense fumbled away the ball with 5:19 remaining.
The Tigers turned the turnover into points, marching 38 yards in seven plays. Morrison scrambled and found Patrick Bennett open on the right side in a third-and-9 situation for a 20-yard score. The ensuing extra-point kick tied things at 7 with 2:12 left until the half.
Fort Payne’s Marcus Ledford took a handoff into Springville territory on the team’s final possession of the half, leading to McPherson’s field goal.
Springville dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in region play.
Fort Payne will have its bye week this week, before visiting non-region opponent Etowah at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.