Wildcats playing 1,000th game

Fort Payne's Alex Akins, right, runs the ball as a Southside-Gadsden defender approaches at Barney Hood Stadium last Friday night. 

The Fort Payne football program plays its 1,000th game this week.

The Wildcats host Class 6A, Region 7 foe Pell City at Fort Payne High School’s Wildcat Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Panthers are reeling from a 24-21 loss against Springville last week, extending their losing streak to four games. Their lone win was against Talladega (55-21).

“Kentrell Borden is one of the most dynamic playmakers that we have faced all season,” Wildcats head coach Chris Elmore said of Pell City’s offensive threat. “They line him up at receiver most of the night but he will also play some wildcat QB for them in certain situations where they snap it to him directly and he will run or pass the ball.”

Quarterback Baylor Smith and running back Quinton Hicks give the Panthers some balance on offense and make them difficult to defend, Elmore said.

The coach said inside linebackerAndrew Sisson is a defensive standout for Pell City, a physical player that makes a lot of tackles. Outside linebacker Carlos Herring makes a lot of plays in the defensive midfield as well.

“Pell City has one of the most athletic defenses we have faced in several weeks,” Elmore said. “We will have to block very well in order to give ourselves a chance to be successful.”

The Wildcats enter with a four-game winning streak and a 4-3 overall record, including 3-1 in region play.

They lead 8-3 in the all-time series against Pell City, having won the last two games — Fort Payne won 42-20 at Pell City last season.

After leading 24-0 early in the fourth quarter of last week’s game at Southside-Gadsden, the Wildcats withstood a 16-point rally and came away with a 24-16 win.

Kaden Dubose ran for a 7-yard touchdown and Jake Barnes threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Connor Cash before Alex McPherson kicked a field goal to give Fort Payne a 17-0 advantage in the third quarter.

An Alex Akins 2-yard scoring run pushed the lead to 24-0 before Southside began to rally.

Southside defeated Pell City 21-14 earlier this season. Pell City also has region losses to Oxford (35-10) and Arab (17-6).

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