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Archives 11-02-2005

Sports

LA Wildcats headed for Class 3A playoffs


LA Wildcats headed for Class 3A playoffs

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
A loss to Knoxville Fulton on Friday, Oct. 28 gave Livingston Academy's Wildcats arguably the most respectable 5-5 record in Tennessee high school football.

The Wildcats would garner no respect were those losses by a huge point spread, such as Friday night's 91-0 decimation of Red Boiling Springs by Trousdale County. But LA did not lose by as much as 12 points in any of those 5 losses. And each loss was to a state championship contender.

Livingston lost to Trousdale by 2 points, 12-14. Trousdale did not lose a single game through the just completed regular season, entering the playoffs as the Region 4-1A champion and the top-ranked Class A team in the state in the AP Prep Football Poll.

LA's second loss came to Knoxville Catholic, a 3-point Region 2-3A contest (21-24). Catholic is ranked 5th in the state in the AP Poll.

The third loss came to Knoxville Austin-East, by a touchdown (21-28). Austin-East just missed the state Class 3A top 10, ranking 11th.

The fourth loss was to the Region 4-2A champion Smith County Owls, a 5-point difference (21-26). The Owls are ranked 6th in the state Class 2A poll.

And Friday's opponent, defending Class 3A State Champion Fulton High School of Knoxville, entered the game ranked 7th in the AP Poll. Fulton has played in the state championship game the past three years, and won it the past two.

Yet, the Wildcats entered the game knowing they would be playing in this week's first round of the playoffs, and Fulton's Falcons knew a loss would send them home to roost while Anderson County would play on.

LA received the kickoff, with Wilson Cates returning for 19 yards to the 29.

Fulton jumped off-sides three times in a row to give LA a trio of 5-yard walkoffs to move the ball to the 44 without a single snap.

The Falcons defense got their act together and didn't give LA another yard, forcing a punt.

Fulton's Dennis Rogan returned the punt 20 yards to the 44. With the help of an LA facemask foul, Fulton moved the ball across mid-field.

The Cats turned up the heat on defense with Jake Peterman breaking up a pass, then the LA defensive pressure causing Fulton's quarterback to fumble a snap.

After Fulton's punt, LA started on the 33, and moved across mid-field with the help of another Fulton off-sides penalty. On a march that took the Wildcats to the 12 yard line, LA converted a 4th and inches on a Jamey Vaughn 1-yard push. A Seth Melton catch, another Fulton jump, a Jake Reeder run, and a Mike Jones-LaRue run moved LA to the 12 before the first quarter ended.

Livingston started the second quarter going backwards. A false start and two runs for losses had LA staring at a 3rd and 20. A Cates pass to the endzone was intecepted by the Falcons at the goalline.

The Falcons' drive, which included an illegal procedure penalty, stalled at the 35, forcing a punt, which Cates returned to the 36.

LA forged down the field, with a big run by Jones-LaRue that placed the ball at the 1 yard line. Vaughn jammed it into the endzone. Jonathan McGill's extra-point kick was good and LA led 7-0 with 33 seconds left in the half.

Taking possession after receiving the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons attempted to move the ball, but Cates intercepted a pass 5 seconds before intermission.

Fulton had only 4 first downs in the half, and LA had 92 yards rushing.

The reversal of fortune came in the second half.

Fulton received the kickoff, then started backing up with a holding penalty that moved them back to the 12 yard line. A steady diet of Dennis Rogan runs moved the ball to the LA 23 before a delay of game penalty moved it backwards. The next play was an incomplete pass that resulted in a pass interference call against Livingston. The ball was moved half the distance to the goal, the 13 yard line.

A 10-yard Rogan run moved the ball to the 3. After Rogan was stopped on the next run, Tyrone Cobb gained the necessary yards for the touchdown. The PAT kick was no good, and LA held a slim 7-6 lead.

The Wildcats went 3 and out, helped along by an off-sides call.

The Falcons took over at their own 38 and moved downfield to the LA 10 yard line. Rogan ran the final 10 for a touchdown. A 2-point conversion pass failed, but Fulton now led 12-7.

After a 22-yard kickoff return by Cates, the Wildcats drove across the 50 and on down to the Falcons' 25, helped by a Fulton personal foul after a 15-yard run by Cates.

Two plays later, Cates was sacked back at the 35, but a facemask penalty against Fulton moved LA up to the 20. Vaughn carried the ball to the 13, then the 12, and Jones-LaRue took it to the 4.

An illegal motion call backed LA up to the 9. After a run failed to gain any yards, LA faced a 4th and 6. A run on 4th down gained only a yard, giving the ball to the Falcons at their own 8.

Again, a steady pounding by Rogan, with a run by Cobb mixed in, moved the ball to the LA 47. Then Rogan broke loose on a 47-yard run for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed, but Fulton extended the lead to 18-7.

Fulton was off-sides on the kickoff for another penalty. LA took over at the 25 after the kickoff.

A drive that included a 16-yard run by Cates moved the ball to the Knoxville 19 with 22 seconds left in the game. A fumbled handoff handed the Falcons the ball.

Fulton had a substitution penalty before the contest ended.

Rogan ended the game with 193 yards.

The LA Wildcats will travel to Strawberry Plains on Friday, Nov. 4 to take on 9-1 Carter High School, another school in the greater metropolitan Knoxville system. Carter was ranked 6th, just ahead of Fulton in last week's AP Poll. The game will begin at 6 p.m. Central Standard Time.

 

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