Tigers outlast Wildcats to win PAC-7

Stephanie King

It was a cold night at Randleman High School as the Tigers hosted the Eastern Randolph Wildcats to decide who would sit alone atop the PAC-7 Conference. Both teams entered the game undefeated in conference play with the Tigers at 5-0 and the Wildcats at 4-0. Randleman was still undefeated at 10-0 overall on the season, while Eastern Randolph was 8-1 overall.

Eastern Randolph received the ball to start the game but struggled to move the ball. They would be forced to punt the ball on fourth down. Randleman took over on their 45-yard line for their first offensive possession. Things did not go well as Osiris Ross picked off a pass and returned it about 60-yards for the Wildcats’ first touchdown of the night. The extra point was good giving the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead. Robby Rich had a short return for the Tigers on the ensuing kickoff, but Jaquan Snipes put together a couple of runs to have the Tigers within scoring range. After getting into the red zone on a couple of runs and a pass play, Randleman put the ball in the hands of Na’hiem Lilly who ran it six-yards in for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was no good as the Tigers trailed 7-6.

Eastern Randolph found a rhythm on offense and needed just a couple of plays to find the end zone. This time Tavis Mcadoo broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown run to increase the Wildcats’ lead. The extra point attempt was good putting Eastern Randolph in front 14-6. The Tigers returned the ensuing kickoff to their 43-yard line and struggled to move the ball up the field. The Eastern Randolph defense would force the Tigers to punt the ball on fourth down. Eastern Randolph took over and picked up a first down plus a few more yards before the first quarter came to a close. After one complete quarter, Eastern Randolph led Randleman 14-6.

Randleman’s defense started strong in the second quarter taking the Wildcats down for a five-yard loss. The Wildcats would eventually be forced to punt the ball on fourth down. The Tigers took over, but would not get very far before fumbling the ball and allowing the Wildcats to recover. Eastern Randolph needed one play as Kaemen Marley connected with Ross for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 9:02 remaining in the half. The Wildcats tried for the two-point conversion but were unsuccessful. The Tigers put together a couple of great runs by Lilly before having to punt the ball on fourth down and eleven. The Wildcats followed in the Tigers’ footsteps having to punt the ball on fourth down. Randleman took over on Eastern Randolph’s 45-yard line and used a 14-yard run from Lilly to pick up the first down. The Tigers moved the ball a little closer before Coby Price found Dawson Edwards for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 48.9 seconds left. The two-point conversion run was goo by Snipes to cut the lead to six for the Tigers. The Wildcats had enough time for a kick return and one play before time expired. At the half, Eastern Randolph held a narrow 20-14 lead over the Tigers.

The third quarter of play opened with back to back punting situations by both teams before the Tigers fumbled the ball and allowed the Wildcats to recover. Fortunately for the Tigers, Eastern Randolph did not get very far and was forced to punt on fourth down. Randleman took over on the Eastern Randolph 31-yard line and put the ball back in Lilly’s hands. Lilly put together several strong runs before capping off the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run with 2:24 left in the quarter. Chris Gentry tacked on the extra point giving the Tigers their first lead of the night at 21-20. Eastern Randolph’s next offensive possession was cut short by an interception by Kaleb Mitchell. Randleman would have the ball until the end of the quarter and headed into the fourth with a 21-20 lead.

Randleman opened the fourth quarter with a short run from Lilly before turning the ball over on fourth down and inches. Eastern Randolph suffered the same fate turning the ball over on fourth and seven on the Tigers’ 31-yard line with 9:14 left in the game. Snipes picked up a first down for the Tigers on a 15-yard run before Lilly picked up three straight first downs to set the Tigers up with excellent field position. Snipes would cap off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run. Gentry nailed the extra point attempt to give the Tigers a 28-20 lead. After the touchdown, the Wildcats suffered a huge loss as Marley was ejected from the game for causes unknown. The Wildcats started their next drive on their 16-yard line and pushed the ball up the field before Cade Snotherly found Ross for a 53-yard touchdown pass to close the gap. Snotherly then connected with Jb Farrish on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 28 all.

Randleman would not get much done on their next drive as they were forced to punt on fourth down and one. The Wildcats took over with 2:36 left but had some penalty trouble that cost them a lot of yards. Eastern Randolph was forced to punt on fourth and twenty. Dominick Poole fielded the punt and broke several tackles to get the ball down to the 17-yard line. A couple of plays later, Lilly found himself in the end zone on an eight-yard run with 37.5 seconds left. The extra point was good giving the Tigers a 35-28 lead. Eastern Randolph would not score again as a bad snap was recovered by the Tigers to seal the game. Price took a knee to run out the clock as the Tigers picked up a 35-28 win over Eastern Randolph.

Lilly led the Tigers offensive attack with 207 rushing yards one 31 carries and three touchdowns. Snipes added 90 rushing yards one 13 carries, one touchdown, and one fumble recovery. Poole was strong on defense with three solo tackles and two assisted tackles. Mcadoo finished with night with 90 rushing yards on ten carries and one touchdown for the Wildcats, while Snotherly finished with 86 passing yards and one touchdown.

With the win over Eastern Randolph, Randleman finishes the regular season undefeated while also taking home the titles of Randolph County Champions and PAC-7 Conference Champions. This is the third straight year the Tigers have been crown Randolph County and PAC-7 champions.

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