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Meadowview outlasts feisty Wildcats 42-22

CAMDEN — In game where both teams lived and died by the big play, Meadowview Christian outlasted Wilcox Academy.

The Trojans took the first region game between the two schools 42-22 at Wildcat Field on Friday night.

“I thought we had an opportunity to be 2-0 to start the year,” said Meadowview coach Rick Jackson. “We just didn’t know how our kids would respond on the road. I think we answered some questions tonight.”

Meadowview got the ball rolling quickly. Senior Austin Cook took the opening kick at his 13, ran through some Wildcat defenders, then raced for an 87-yard touchdown. It was the first score of his career.

“Good offensive line blocking cleared a hole, and I went right on through it,” said Cook. “They were pretty happy for me. They knew how bad I wanted it.”

Quarterback Ryan Hamilton connected with receiver J.R. Lowe for the 2-point conversion, and Meadowview was up 8-0.

Wilcox Academy (1-2) had a chance to answer, but shot itself in the foot. The Wildcats drove to the Trojan 31-yard line and were going to go for it on fourth-and-4, but a false start pushed them back to the 36. They went for it anyway, and quarterback Morgan Harper overthrew wide receiver Luke McNeese.

The Trojans took a 16-0 lead early in the second quarter. Hamilton connected with receiver Ryan Aultman — just over the outstretched fingertips of McNeese — for a 25-yard touchdown. Aultman ran in the two-point conversion.

Wilcox had a shot to cut into the deficit before the half, but once again couldn’t finish the job. A methodical 10-minute, 20-play drive ended at the Trojan 1-yard line when McNeese was stopped short on fourth-and-goal.

The Wildcats got on the board midway through the third quarter. Harper escaped pressure and scrambled for a 72-yard touchdown. Running back Jamie Agee darted in for the 2-point conversion, and Wilcox cut the lead in half at 16-8.

However, as they would do the remainder of the evening, the Trojans answered. Three plays after Harper’s touchdown, Hamilton hooked up with receiver Daniel Blackmon for a 27-yard touchdown reception.

“They can run and throw, and they did both well,” said Wilcox coach Chris Burford. “Every time we scored, they scored. You’ve got to hand it to them.”

Blackmon gave the Trojans the momentum permanently on the next Wildcat possession. He sacked Harper for a 12-yard loss to the Wildcat 11.

“I was on a blitz, and they didn’t have anybody blocking me,” said Blackmon.

Following the ensuing punt, Meadowview took over at the Wilcox 24. Running back Davis Jones ran for all 24 yards in three plays, Freine ran in for the 2-point conversion, and the Trojans led 30-8.

The Wildcats weren’t done, though. On a fourth-and-5, McNeece found a wide-open Lance Brasell for a 47-yard touchdown. Clay Watson rushed in for the 2-point conversion, and the Wildcats were within 14 points.

But the Trojans fired back again. Less than three minutes after the Wildcats’ score, Freine rushed for a 24-yard touchdown to put The Trojans up 36-16.

“We just can’t get behind,” said Burford. “We’re not a catch-up offense.”

The Wildcats got their final score on a 50-yard run from Jason Maness with 5:52 remaining when Harper rushed 8 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the evening to cut the deficit to 36-22.

The Wildcat fans got loud one final time, but their comeback hopes were dashed three plays later when Cooper Hain rushed for a 50-yard touchdown to close out the scoring.

“I think we played better than we did last week (against Jackson),” said Jackson. “But we still have a lot of room for improvement.”