Tifton Gazette


November 3, 2012

Wilcox holds off determined Irwin squad

OCILLA —  The Irwin County Indians and the Wilcox County Patriots came in as two of the hottest teams in the state of Georgia in Class A. The two schools played up to that standing Friday night with tthe Patriots ending up garnering a 28-21 victory.

It came down to the final series.

Wilcox County's Makail Grace ran for a one-yard touchdown  with 1:51 left in the game. That put Wilcox up 28-21.

On the ensuing Wilcox kickoff, the ball went up straight in the air. It appeared the ball had been touched by a Patriot player, but the officials ended up giving the ball back to Wilcox. The Patriots then ran the clock out.

Grace was the standout for the Patriots' offense on the night. He rushed for 131 yards on 26 carries. He also threw for 113 yards, completing 14 for 21 of his passes.

Jonathan Howard caught eight passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

Howard caught his first touchdown with 7:49 left in the first. He would later added another touchdown with 9:36 left in the second quarter.

Down 14-0, Irwin responded with an impressive 10 play, 74 yard drive. The touchdown came on a 20-yard pass from Clay Paulk to Ryan Peterson..

Irwin would then hold Wilcox as D.J. Peterson and Antuane Merritt combined with a pair of sacks.

The Indians would then tie the game with 8:39 left in the third quarter. Robert Moore scored on a 6-yard run. Moore ended the game with 66 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Grace would give the Patriots the lead back on an 11-yard run with 1:10 left in the third.

On Irwin's next drive the Indians drove down to the Wilcox 20. On fourth down, the Indians tried a halfback pass, and it was intercepted by Howard, who ran the ball out onto the Patriot 4.

On the second play, Grace appeared to be in the grasp of Irwin defenders in the end zone. Grace threw the ball out-of-bounds, but even though the official appeared to be on the grasp of throwing a penalty flag for intentional grounding, but did not. Irwin's Donte Studstill then had a great play on a pass to force Wilcox to punt.

On the next drive, Irwin would tie the game on a Ryan Peterson run that saw him hurdle a Wilcox defender on a 20-yard run.

Grace then would go down to score on the game-winning drive.

Irwin will be back in action in Folkston Friday to face the Charlton County Indians. Irwin has not defeated Charlton since 1989.

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