A new football season began Friday night for the Wayne County High School Wildcats as they traveled to Loretto to take on the Mustangs. The Wildcats are working to replace the loss of 21 senior squad members from a year ago. The 'Cats will play with eleven seniors this year. Gavin Thompson was mistakenly omitted from the article last week, sorry for the mistake. This year's version of Wildcat football will feature 11 seniors and 12 juniors on the 54 man squad. Game time and hard work will be the key to a building program.
Friday night, the 'Cats won the toss and elected to give Loretto the ball. Following a short kick-off, the Mustangs took the ball at their own 46 and went 54 yards in 6 plays for a touchdown, scoring on a one yard run. The PAT was good to make the score 7 - 0 with 8:22 left in the first quarter. The Wildcats received the ensuing kick, starting their first possession at their own 25. Following a pair of rushes, the 'Cats' quarterback Cade Crews connected with Clay Baugus on a 73 yard pass for a touchdown. The Wildcats went for a 2 -point conversion play that failed, making the score Loretto 7 - Wildcats 6 with 6:41 on the first quarter clock. Loretto scored their second touchdown three and a half minutes later, as they completed a 37 yard touchdown pass. With the point after, the score went to 14 - 6, with 3:10 seconds left in the first period. The 'Cats, on their next possession, managed to put together a nine play drive that stalled at the Mustang 13, as they turned it over on downs. The score remained 14 - 6 until the half.
On the kick-off of second half action, the Wildcats' Christian Teeftaller returned the ball to the Mustang 31, taking it back 66 yards. Three plays later, Wildcat running back JoJo Swinea scored on a 4 yard run. Swinea also carried the ball in on the two -point conversion run to tie the score at 14 all with only thirty-five seconds gone in the second half. Loretto began their next series at their own 27, and ended a 12 play drive with a 34 yard field goal to go up 17 - 14. The Wildcats answered with an 8 play, 73 yard drive as Christian Teeftaller scored from 32 yards out. The point after attempt was no good, making the score 20 - 17 in favor of the Wildcats.
The teams exchanged punts a couple of times before the 'Cats fumbled the ball away at their own 34 with 7:50 left in the contest. Loretto scored the final touchdown just seconds later on a 34 yard run. They kicked the PAT to make it 24 - 20. The teams exchanged possessions until the final seconds of the game, as the Wildcats marched down to try to go ahead. The Wildcats finished the contest on a bad note as an interception in the Mustang end zone ended the try for a victory, making the final score Loretto 24, Wildcats 20.
The Wildcats ran the ball 33 times for 170 yards. JoJo Swinea rushed 15 times for 60 yards and a touchdown. He also had a two-point conversion run. Hunter Staggs had 8 carries for 50 yards, while Christian Teeftaller had 4 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Travis Paterson had one carry for 7 yards, and Clay Baugus had 2 carries for 14 yards. Quarterback Cade Crews had 21 passing attempts, completing 10, for 172 yards and one touchdown, with one interception. Clay Baugus caught 3 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. JoJo Swinea had 3 receptions for 42 yards, while Travis Paterson had 3 receptions for 13 yards. Hunter Staggs had one catch for 10 yards.
The Wildcat defense held the Mustangs to 172 yards on the ground on 32 carries. The Mustangs were 10 of 17 passing for 91 yards. Gavin Thompson came up with a Mustang fumble. (Complete defensive stats were not available at press time).
The Wildcats return home this Friday to host Summertown. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Come out and support the 'Cats in the first home game of the season. "GO WILDCATS!”--------------Submitted