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Dimitri Hall carries the ball for the Irwin County Indians in their loss to Wilcox County

The Wilcox County Patriots proved why they could challenge for a state football championship Friday night here in their game against the Irwin County Indians, winning 41-7. But, for most of the first half, the Indians proved they could be an up-and-comer in Region 2-A.

Wilcox gave their side a great start as Jonathan Howard took the opening kickoff and raced 71 yards for a touchdown. Following the extra point, the score was 7-0 before everyone had settled into their seats.

Irwin quickly answered as Jamadre Wilson raced up the middle on the Indians' first play from scrimmage 77 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point, the score was 7-7 with 11:30 still remaining in the first quarter.

Howard would make the score 14-7 with a 25-yard reception from Makail Grace with 9:03 left in the first quarter.

After that score, the Indians would get the ball on their 34. Irwin would methodically go down the field for a 16-play drive.

Facing a second-and-goal from the Wilcox 2 on the first play of the second quarter, the Indians would end upĀ  turning the ball over on a fumble. That gave the Patriots the ball on their 20.

"That definitely changed the momentum in the game,"said Irwin County coach Jon Lindsey. "We had it, but we lost it on the fumble."

The Patriots would end up scoring two more touchdowns in the second quarter as the wind went out of the Irwin sails.

One was on a 75-yard pass from Grace to Quez Mahogeny with 5:47 left in the second quarter.

After Howard returned an Irwin interception 34 yards late in the half, Grace would capitalize hitting Milton Jackson for a 30-yard touchdown pass.

Jackson, a 62-yard pass from Grace on the Patriots' first play from scrimmage in the second half, and Tim Turner, a 11-yard touchdown run with 4:00 left in the third, scored the last two Patriot touchdowns.

Playing just three quarters, Grace was 13-16 passing for 308 yards. Jackson had four catches for 111 yards, while Howard had four catches for 83 yards.

Wilson led Irwin with 106 yards rushing on 10 carries. Donte Studstill added 48 yards on six carries.

Irwin ends up 3-7 on the year, while Wilcox ends the regular season with a 10-0 record and the region championship.

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