With the game hanging in the balance and trailing 36-31, Cleveland High's Vaughnte Dorsey dropped back to pass from the Indians’ nine-yard line, but his pass failed incomplete as time expired to secure the five-point victory for the Indians in the Region 3-4A showdown.
In the loss, the Wildcats fell to 4-4 overall with a 1-1 mark in the region. Yazoo is now 6-1 with a 1-1 mark in the region.
"I thought we played well there at the end to fight back and have a chance, but we kind of put ourselves too far behind the 8-ball throughout the course of the game,” Cleveland High head coach Kelly Causey said. “Defensively we just didn't make some tackles and had some missed assignments that really hurt us and we have to do better.”
Trailing 36-24 the Wildcats had their backs against the wall.
On fourth down, deep in Wildcats’ territory, the Indians attempted to put the final nail in the coffin, but Darius Wright's pass was intercepted by Cleveland's Larry Douglas in the end zone and returned to the nine yard line to give the Wildcats another shot.
That breath of life for Cleveland was quickly sucked out of the stadium when Dorsey completed a pass to Truman Brown, but Brown fumbled on the hit and Yazoo recovered.
On Yazoo's next possession, Douglas put that energy back in the stadium as he intercepted Wright again and returned the ball to the Cleveland 40-yard line to put the offense back in business.
The Wildcat offense took over and put together a drive that saw Dorsey run for a first down on fourth-and-nine and on fourth-and-20 a 10-yard run from Dorsey was aided by a personal foul penalty that gave Cleveland High the first down and the ball at the Yazoo 36-yard line.
A big pass from Dorsey to Brown set the Wildcats up on the 10-yard line. A play later. Dorsey scrambled and dove into the end zone from five yards out for with 1:27 left in the game. Trace Edwards added the kick after for a 36-31 score.
Edwards attempted the onside kick, but the ball escaped the outstretch hand of Brown and rolled out of bounds to give Yazoo the ball at the 40-yard line.
With all hope seemingly lost, Douglas proved to be clutch again as he stripped the ball away from Yazoo's Stevie Leonard to give the Wildcats the ball back.
With time being a major issue, Dorsey went to work completing two passes to Andonte Maxie, a pass to Kyran Parker and a pass to Brown with under 15-seconds remaining in the game down to the Indians nine-yard line.
Despite their best efforts, the Wildcats could not score and the Indians held on for the victory.
The game started fast and the Indians had their motor full throttle from the first quarter. Yazoo's big play ability was a major factor in the team's win.
"A couple of their big plays came when we were in zone coverage when we have guys deep and we just didn’t come up and make tackles. They have really good players with speed when they get their hands on the ball," said Causey.
On the first play of the night, Wright connected with Alexander Hollins for a 75-yard touchdown pass. Wright added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 Yazoo lead.
Cleveland responded with a 10 play, 71-yard drive that culminated with Maxie punching it in from eight yards out. The conversion attempt failed, but the score was now 8-6.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats managed to take the lead when Earnest Butler scored on a four yard run with 7:59 left in the first half. The conversion attempt failed, but the Wildcats led 12-8.
On the ensuing kickoff, Yazoo flexed its big play ability again as Elijah Moore returned the ball 85 yards for the score with 7:37 on the clock. Wright added the two-points for a 16-12 lead.
Chaos continued to follow the Wildcats as Jatavis Scott muffed the kickoff and Yazoo recovered on the Wildcats 44-yard line.
The Wildcats defense stood tall and forced a fourth-and-13 from the 15-yard line, but Wright eluded the pass rush and found Hollins in the corner of the end zone for a leaping touchdown grab with 5:49 left in the second quarter. The conversion failed, but Yazoo now led 22-12.
The Wildcats went three and out and had to punt on their next possession and Yazoo took advantage as Wright connected with Moore for a 46-yard touchdown pass with 1:48 left in the first half. The conversion attempt failed, but the Indians were now in control 28-12.
The Wildcats responded with some big play ability of their own as Dorsey connected with Scott on a 43-yard pass down to the Indians' eight-yard line. As time expired, Dorsey punched it in from one yard out. The conversion failed, but Cleveland had closed the gap to 28-18 going into the locker room.
The Wildcats received the ball first to start the third, but had to punt it away after Dorsey was called for intentional grounding, forcing Edwards to punt from his own end zone.
Yazoo took advantage of the filed position and scored off the possession when Moore galloped on a 12 yard run. Wright connected with Desi Scott for the conversion and a 36-18 lead.
The Wildcats responded with a long drive that culminated in Maxie scoring on a short run late in the third quarter. The conversion failed, but the score was now 36-24.
Dorsey led the Wildcats’ offense by completing 8-of-12 passes for 128 yards and rushing for 101 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. Maxie finished with 46 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns and two receptions for 15 yards; Butler rushed for 79 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown; Brown caught three passes for 50 yards and Scott caught one pass for 43 yards to round out Cleveland’s offense.
Douglas led Cleveland defense with two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The Wildcats will be back in action at 7 p.m. Friday in Greenwood to face Amanda Elzy.