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Hazlehurst spoils Wesson’s rally

DAILY LEADER / TRACY FISCHER / Hazlehurst Malik Gray (6) looks for some running room as Wesson defenders Tyler McLeod (25) and Jeremiah Stapleton (10) prepare to make the tackle Friday night at Stone Stadium.

DAILY LEADER / TRACY FISCHER / Hazlehurst Malik Gray (6) looks for some running room as Wesson defenders Tyler McLeod (25) and Jeremiah Stapleton (10) prepare to make the tackle Friday night at Stone Stadium.

WESSON – The Wesson Cobras return home after a long road tour to host the Hazlehurst Indians for their first district match of the season at Stone Stadium. The Indians came out and quickly set the tone of the contest by claiming an early lead and despite Wesson’s fourth-quarter comeback, held on for a 22-20 victory over the Cobras.

“We missed a golden opportunity to start 1-0 in the region race. We must put four quarters of good football together to be able to compete in this region,” said head coach Ronald Greer for the Cobras. “Our team fought back, but it was too little too late. I’m proud of our team fighting back, but we have to learn to not put ourselves in that position to start with.”

The first quarter began with the Indians scoring with Malik Gray making a 56-yard rush to the end zone. The two-point conversion by the Indians put the score at 8-0 with 11:40 remaining.

Wesson would fight back but could not make it to the Indian’s red zone. Wesson fumbled the ball allowing the Indians to take control on their own 14-yard line, which started the second quarter off with another touchdown by quarterback Laddarius Williams. The two-point conversion was successful as Denigal McCarthy ran the ball in upping the score to 16-0 Hazlehurst.

Wesson’s Timothy Craft prevented the Indians from scoring again after making it to the Cobras 18-yard line by intercepting the ball. The Cobras advanced the ball down to the Hazlehurst’s 30-yard line but failed to score as the Indians took a 16-0 lead into halftime.

Wesson managed to gain some momentum in the second half as Farrod Green rushed into the end zone and completed the two-point conversion putting eight points on the scoreboard for the Cobras.

Hazlehurst answered on the next possession by running the ball down to the red zone for another touchdown, which was completed by Michael Miller. The two-point conversion was not successful bringing the score to 22-8 at the end of the third quarter.

The Indians started the fourth quarter with an interception by Timmy Steward, but the Cobras bit back when Blake Runyan recovered a fumble setting the Cobras up in good field position.

Wesson moved the ball down the field, which allowed Farrod Green to receive a pass in the end zone for another touchdown. The Cobras elected to go for the onside kick against the Indians and was successful as Jeremiah Stapleton gained possession. The Cobras battled offensively to attempt to come back against the Indians. Green would catch another touchdown pass, but the Cobras would come up short at the end as the end with a final score of 22-20.

Hazlehurst’s leading rushers were Malik Gray and Laddarius Williams with over 70 yards each and one touchdown each. Michael Miller had over 60 yards rushing and one touchdown. Timmy Steward had an interception, and the Indians had four fumble recoveries. Top defensive players for Hazlehurst were Frederick Stewart and Demetrius Swilley with four tackles each.

Wesson finished with 34 rushes for 115 yards. Tyler Christmas was nine for 22 passing for 152 yards pushing the total to 267 yards on offense. Top rushers were Arthur Harris with two rushes for 31 yards and Tyler Christmas with 15 rushes for 53 yards.

Farrod Green had four catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Dartavious Dixon received two catches for 31 yards.

Defensively, Arthur Harris led with five tackles. Timothy Craft, Tyler McLeod and Dartavious Dixon had four tackles each. Timothy Craft had an interception, and Blake Runyan had a fumble recovery.

Wesson (2-5, 0-1) will be on the road next Friday as they travel up to Crystal Springs to battle the Crystal Springs Tigers. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.