• 64°

Wesson edges Tigers in offensive thriller

DAILY LEADER / TRACY FISCHER / Wesson Tyler Christmas (3) sprints up the field for a big gain as teammate Michael Hauer prepares to make a block on Crystal Springs at Stone Stadium.

DAILY LEADER / TRACY FISCHER / Wesson Tyler Christmas (3) sprints up the field for a big gain as teammate Michael Hauer prepares to make a block on Crystal Springs at Stone Stadium.

WESSON – The Wesson Cobras overcame an offensive slugfest to edge the Crystal Spring Tigers 55-53 and claim their first win of the season Thursday night in Region 7-3A football action.

“Thank you Jesus, we managed to hang on,” said Wesson coach Ronald Greer. “I am extremely proud of the guys. They fought hard to get a much deserved win. We are a very young team and this was a great learning experience.

“Crystal Springs has a very good team and they did a great job fighting back,” continued Greer. “Coach Rice is doing a good job with his kids. Overall, I am really glad to get the win.”

The Tigers and Cobras came out and provided plenty of excitement for their football fans as both schools combined for a total of 108 points that nearly blew a fuse in the scoreboard.

In the first quarter, Crystal Springs (1-7, 0-2) came out strong and set the tone early, when the Tigers scored twice to take a 14-0 lead. Sophomore quarterback Jerriko Morris punched in Crystal Springs’ first touchdown on a three-yard run and hooked up with Jeremy Archie for the two-point conversion with 9:00 remaining.

Junior wingback Jarred Taylor increased the Tigers’ lead with a 19-yard sprint to paydirt with 4:56 left. Crystal Springs failed on the two-point conversion attempt.

Wesson, after a slow start, managed to answer the Tigers’ challenge and put points on the scoreboard late in the first quarter, when Nick Lewis powered in for a eight-yard touchdown with 1:07 remaining. CJ Viramontez finished seven-of-eight on the extra point attempts for the night.

In the second quarter, The Cobras exploded for 28 unanswered points and held the Tigers scoreless. Junior running back Michael Hauer sparked the explosion with a two-yard run with 9:17 remaining.

Junior quarterback Tyler Christmas continued the charge and punched in two touchdowns on a 14-yard scramble at 1:23 left and a 44-yard jolt with :06 remaining.

On the next possession, Lewis picked off a pass from Crystal Springs’ quarterback and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown as time expired. Wesson went into halftime with a 35-14 lead.

In the second half, the offensive fireworks continued. The Tigers rifled off 39 points to Wesson’s 20 points in the final two frames.

In the third quarter, the Tigers quickly rebounded from a terrible second quarter and punched in two touchdown to cut into the Cobras’ lead 35-27. Morris provided an offensive show for Crystal Springs as he carried the Tigers back with a 54-yard sprint with 10:49 remaining and a six-yard rumble with 5:18 left.

Kenneth Thomas finished one-of-two on the extra point kicks for the Tigers.

Wesson managed to regroup from the Tigers’ attack and answered the challenge with two quick scores of their own. Lewis carried in a 10-yard touchdown with 2:58 left. Hauer added another touchdown in the closing second of the third quarter on a five-yard scramble to paydirt with :19 left. Wesson commanded a 48-27 lead over the Tigers.

In the fourth quarter, Crystal Springs and Wesson traded first two touchdowns. Morris continued his offensive highlight show and single handedly carried his team back. He rushed in a five-yard touchdown with 8:37 remaining and connected with Octavious Bingham for the two-point conversion.

Senior running back Otis Smith plowed in the Cobras final touchdown on a two-yard run with 5:05 left.

Crystal Spring scored the last 18 points in the final three minutes of action. Morris hooked up with Bingham for the 34-yard touchdown at the 2:35 mark. The Tiger recovered an onside kick on the next possession and Morris connected with Archie for a 41-yard passing touchdown with 2:32 left. Morris punch in the Tigers’ final touchdown on a one-yard run with 0:12 left. Crystal Springs failed on three attempts to punch in a two-point conversion and Wesson held on to preserved the victory.

“We made too many mistakes in the second quarter that came back to hurt us,” said Crystal Springs’ first-year head coach Stephen Rice. “Overall, it was a good game. I am very proud of my guys’ efforts and for not giving up. We proved to ourselves that we can be a offensive threat, putting up 39 points in the second half, but we need to work on our defense. Wesson has a good squad and they made the plays needed to win.”

Christmas was the offensive leader for the Cobras’ ground attack with 15 rushes for 136 yards. Lewis contributed 112 yards rushing on 12 carries. Smith provided 90 yards on 18 rushes.

Morris paced the Tigers’ offense, completing 11-of-25 passes for 231 yards and rushed for 154 yards on 19 carries.

Archie was the top receiver for Crystal Springs with six catches for 149 yards.

Defensively, Timothy Craft and Kendrick Brown were the hard hitters for the Cobras with five tackles apiece. Sharaad Beya and Blake Burns recovered a fumble each. Eric Rhymes picked off two interception and Lewis intercepted a pass for a touchdown.

Anthony Walker led the Tigers with 13 tackles. Tereante Johnson contributed 10 stops. Bingham recovered three fumbles.

Wesson (1-6, 1-1) visits Jefferson County next Friday night for another big regional test. Crystal Springs invades Franklin County. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.