Gunter’s field goal sinks Hinds AHS
WESSON — The Wesson Cobras (6-4, 3-2) overcame a spooky firsthalf Friday night to bounce back late and hang a spectacular, comefrom behind 21-19 victory over the heavily favored Hinds AHS WarDawgs in Stone Stadium. The War Dawgs (7-3, 3-2) are runnesr-up inRegion 6-2A.
Quarterback/placekicker Nick Gunter would deliver the Halloweenthrills for Cobra fans with a 37-yard bomb off his foot to splitthe uprights and seal the victory for the Cobras with a gamewinning field goal.
“Nick is a warrior,” exclaimed Wesson head coach Ronald Greer onthe field goal. “He’s just a great kid and it could not havehappened to anybody better.”
The Cobras entered the night needing to defeat the War Dawgs by6 points in order to host the first round of the playoffs. Theyfailed in that endeavor, but with the win leap-frogged the St.Andrew’s Saints for 3rd place in the division. The Cobras face No.2 seeded Taylorsville out of Region 7-2A Friday night in SmithCounty.
The Halloween night was filled with scary moments for the Cobrasin the first half as they were turned away from two clutch scoringopportunities in the first half. The War Dawgs on the other handfilled their pumpkins with first half points and looked to havecontrol of the football game.
After a scoreless 1st quarter, the Hinds offense would findpaydirt on tailback Albert Williams 1-yard TD plunge with 10:32remaining in the 2nd period. The Percy McGee PAT was good and theWar Dawgs led 7-0.
The Cobras, on their next possession, gave the football away asfullback Ladelle Jackson turned it over on the War Dawg 36-yardline. This led to quarterback Austin Divinity hooking up on thelong pass to wingback Brandon Harris to give Hinds a 13-0 lead atthe 4:00 mark of the 2nd quarter. The PAT was blocked by Cobradefensive lineman Herman Johnson to leave the score 13-0.
The next Cobra possession turned into a horror movie with theCobras driving all the way to the Hinds 10 yard line and inbusiness, 1st and goal. Gunter tried to squeeze a pass over themiddle to tight end Tuffy Thompson, but to no avail as safety CarlCarson jumped in front and intercepted the pass on the 3-yard linewith only 2:51 remaining in the half.
The second half began with a little trick or treat from Greerand the Cobra staff as they pulled off a successful onside kickwith the recovery by safety Corey Puckett. This began the march forthe Cobras as they changed the tempo decidedly by attacking the WarDawgs from all angles on the option. The War Dawgs had troublegetting people in the right spots to defend the run as the Cobrasmarched 65 yards for their first score on a 4-yard TD run fromtailback Brian Channell. Gunter’s PAT was good and the Cobrastrailed only 13-7 at the 8:56 mark of the 3rd period.
The Cobras continued to pound on their next possession. Theyproceeded to march again and cap it off with a Gunter 2-yard TD runwith 4:17 left in the 3rd quarter. Gunter pushed his PAT left andthe score was tied 13-13.
The Cobras ended the 3rd with a gamble as they went for it on4th and 5 at the Hinds 42 yard line and converted to leave lots ofopportunity for the 4th quarter.
The gamble would pay huge dividends as the Cobras used a Gunter40-yard FG to take their first lead 16-13 with 8:54 left in thefinal frame.
The War Dawgs would answer back as they proceeded to march 65yards to retake the lead with Williams once again diving in from 1yard out to make the score 19-16. The crucial PAT was missed byMcGee and the score stood 19-16 with 4:10 seconds remaining in thegame.
The Cobras then managed to put together a rally that will longbe remembered in Wesson football history. The Cobras drove all theway to the Hinds 9-yard line. Tailback Johnny Butler seemingly hada TD when the ball popped out and the War Dawgs recovered in theend zone for the touchback with only 1:10 remaining in thegame.
All was seemingly lost for the Cobras until after 2 penalties byHinds forced the War Dawgs to take a safety with 0:42 remaining onthe clock to avert having to punt so deep in their own territory.The Dawgs a slim 19-18 margin.
The plan seemed to work, except that the Hinds specialty unitswere awful two weeks in-a-row and now they needed a big kick fromthe 20-yard line. Carson’s kick only sailed 20 yards and the Cobraswere back in business on the 40-yard line.
After a 26-yard Butler run, the Cobras were set up at the 20yard line following a 4 yard loss on a running play. The Cobrascalled on Gunter and the kick was perfect and the Cobras escapedwith a 21-19 win.
“I’m tickled to death,” explained Greer after the win. “Weshowed how much pride we had after trailing at the half. I’m proudof all our kids.”
Offensively, the Cobras were led by Jackson who had 12 carriesfor 116 yards. Gunter carried 14 times for 56 yards and a scorewhile Johnny Butler stepped up with 16 carries for 100 yards.Channell rushed 6 times for 42 yards and a score. Williams led theWar Dawgs with 103 yards on 28 carries.
Defensively, the young Cobra unit stepped upbig time and was the heart and soul behind the victory by deflatingthe explosive Hinds unit to less than 200 yards rushing and under100 yards passing. Johnson led the way with 11 tackels, a sack, anda blocked PAT. Thompson chipped in 8 tackles alongside linemanPhillip Freeman who had 8 as well. Josh Sanders chipped in 8 withJackson netting 7.
“Man this feels great,” commented Gunter. “Next week we have toplay hard, cut out the mistakes and play with heart.”