Pickens County Knocks Out Wadley from the Playoffs
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The Pickens County Tornadoes defeated the Wadley Bulldogs 34-15 in the first round of the Class 1-A playoffs.
Pickens County looked to avenge last year's loss to Wadley, as the Tornadoes fell to the Bulldogs 41-36 in the state semifinals.
Pickens County started off the game with a four-play, 61-yard drive, that was capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by junior Korbit Sommerville.
Wadley had a rough start to the game on special teams as a Bulldog returner fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, giving Pickens County prime field position. The Bulldog defense held strong, forcing the Tornadoes turn it over on downs.
The Wadley offense started to make improvements on its next drive. The Bulldogs went on a 15-play, 95-yard drive, with 14 of those plays being runs. The drive was highlighted by freshman running back Jacquez Wilkes's goal-line touchdown run on fourth down.
Pickens County immediately gained all of the momentum back on the ensuing kickoff. Junior wide receiver Santonio Jones earned an 85-yard touchdown return to put the Tornadoes up 12-7.
Wadley's troubles on special teams continued to be a problem. The kick returner fumbled the ball for the second time and Pickens County recovered. The Tornadoes capitalized on the turnover with a 26-yard touchdown run by running back Elijah Merriweather. An unsuccessful two-point conversion kept the Pickens County lead 18-7.
Both teams traded drives with no points, then Wadley ended the drought with a clean six-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by Wilkes, who scored a 55 yard touchdown for the Bulldogs to cut their deficit to three.
Both defenses dominated for the final six minutes of the half. Pickens County retained the three-point lead heading into the break.
Wadley started the second half with the ball and went 35 yards before being stopped short of the sticks by the relentless Tornado defense. Two plays after getting the ball back, quarterback Demarkis Giles hit the junior wide receiver, Kemaurion Plott, on a 57-yard bomb which put Pickens County up 26-15.
The Tornadoes looked to ice the game and score one more touchdown but it would not be easy. The Tornado defense held Wadley to punt, but on the next Pickens County drive, Giles threw a pick in the red zone to Cortavion Lynch.
The rest of the third and most of the fourth quarter was a defensive struggle. Finally, with 5:25 left in the game, Pickens County put the game on ice with a 20-yard touchdown run by running back Caleb Hill.
"You know it was one of those revenge games, this was the team that took us out last year in the semifinals so it feels good to get that revenge," said Pickens County head coach Michael Williams. "This is a great win for our team and our program but this week we need to work on not getting so many undisciplined penalties".
Next week, the Tornadoes travel to Arley, Ala. to face off against the undefeated Meek Tigers in the second round of the playoffs.