Wildcats hang on to gig rival Aggies 20-13

Matthew Shaddix carries the ball downfield during Friday's win at Albertville

Unbeaten Fort Payne Wildcats survived six turnovers to beat Albertville 20-13 in an emotional, intense and physical Class 6A, Region 8 football game Friday night on McCord Field at Aggie Stadium.

The Wildcats improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Region 8 standings. Fort Payne is the defending region champion. Albertville slipped to 1-1, 0-1.

Fort Payne erased a 13-6 deficit by outscoring Albertville 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

Consecutive high snaps over the quarterback’s head cost Fort Payne a loss of 34 yards late in the third quarter. The second snap rolled into the end zone, where Albertville’s Trinity Bell recovered it for a touchdown with 2:03 left, giving his team a 13-6 lead. AHS missed the extra point.

Fort Payne took the kickoff and drove 65 yards in 10 plays for its first touchdown.

Matthew Shaddix’s 22-yard pass to Sawyer Burt gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal at the AHS 6-yard line. Hunter Love barreled into the end zone from the 3 on second-and-goal with 11:09 left in the fourth quarter. Alex McPherson’s extra point made it 13-13.

The teams exchanged punts before Albertville was forced to punt again, this time from its 16. Carter Pinholster returned it inside the AHS 20, but a holding penalty pushed the Wildcats back to the 33.

Fort Payne rode the bruising running of Love for the go-ahead score. He had consecutive carries of 6, 9, 9, 5 and 2 yards, with the 2-yarder going for a touchdown with 5:13 remaining. McPherson’s extra point gave the Wildcats a 20-13 edge.

Unofficially, Love rushed 31 times for 113 yards.

Fort Payne’s Cameron Thomas intercepted a tipped pass on the second play following the kickoff, putting the Wildcats in business at Albertville’s 32 with 4:36 to go.

The Cats ran out the clock by picking up two first downs.

In the third quarter, Albertville’s Chi Jordan returned an interception to the FPHS 47 with 9:53 remaining, and teammate Joel Cain recovered a fumble at the Wildcats’ 21 at the 5:54 mark. The Aggies failed to turn either opportunity into points.

Albertville’s offense gained only one first down in the second half as Fort Payne’s defense controlled the line of scrimmage.

A penalty erased a Wildcat touchdown on the opening drive of the game. The series ended with McPherson missing a 42-yard field goal with 9:34 left in the first period.

On the Wildcats’ next series, Albertville’s Zion Davis caught a fumble in mid-air at the FPHS 12. Two plays later, Robbie Graham picked off a pass to smother the Aggies’ scoring threat.

The sequence of turnovers continued, as less than a minute later, Albertville’s Kameron Nesbit made a leaping interception at the FPHS 30.

Ben Allen’s 22-yard pass to Chase Kitchens picked up a first-and-goal at the 8. Brendan Merrell swept around right end for a 4-yard touchdown with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter. Jason Rodriguez’s extra point made it 7-0.

McPherson put the Wildcats on the scoreboard by nailing a 42-yard field goal at the 9:30 mark of the second period.

Fort Payne’s Samuel Hotalen and Thomas each grabbed a second-quarter interception. Jordan picked off a pass for the Aggies in the second period.

McPherson wowed the fans of both teams by booming a 57-yard field goal with a second left in the first half, cutting Albertville’s lead to 7-6.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.