Trailing by a touchdown to begin the fourth quarter, the Saks faithful knew it was time to stand behind their team when the Wildcats needed momentum the most.
Saks rode this momentum wave the whole fourth quarter while coming back and defeating the Lauderdale County Tigers 36-21.
“We love our Saks fans. They’ll go anywhere with us,” senior Roc Green said.
Saks (12-0) will hit the road again next week when the Wildcats play at Colbert County in the quarterfinals.
The fourth quarter started with a Saks punt, but the Wildcats’ defense forced an immediate three-and-out from the Tigers’ offense. This put the ball into the hands of Wildcats quarterback Tre’ Smith, and he delivered.
After three plays, Saks head coach Jonathan Miller was forced to call a timeout with the play clock winding down. This was when the Wildcats took over.
The next play, Smith ran into the end zone from 15 yards out to tie the game, and ran in the 2-point conversion to put Saks up for good 23-21.
“We knew it was time to step up,” Smith said. “We had been slipping.”
On Lauderdale County’s next offensive play, quarterback Samuel Grisham couldn’t handle the snap, and Davontae Young fell on top of the loose football.
On the next play, Smith found sophomore running back Devin Harris streaking down the sideline for a 26-yard touchdown reception to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 29-21.
“When you have a target on your head, it’s going to be hard to make plays, but you still have to make plays,” Harris said.
However, the Saks momentum didn’t stop there.
On Lauderdale County’s second play back on offense, Green intercepted Grisham and returned the ball back to the Tigers’ 19 yard-line.
Five plays later, Smith put the game out of reach with a touchdown run of 4 yards.
“We had to keep our head in the game — keep our composure and let the defense take over,” Green said.
Saks hurried out to a 7-0 lead after Lauderdale County fumbled away the opening kickoff, and Smith found Harris for a 13-yard touchdown toss.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers fumbled away the ball again, and the Wildcats took advantage. Harris took to the air, and he threw for his own touchdown as he connected with Green for a 37-yard reception.
“We got up 14-0, and had a lot of opportunities in the first half to stretch our lead and we didn’t do it,” Miller said. “Our guys made some plays. It’s what we try to do as coaches, put them in position to make plays.”
Lauderdale County had scores courtesy of a 1-yard run from Grisham, 28-yard run by Zach Simbeck, and 15-yard run by John Taylor Greer.
“We had some sloppy spots during the game, but we kept fighting and finally executed in the fourth quarter when we needed to most,” Miller said.
With the victory over the Tigers, Saks extends in win streak to 12 in a row, while advancing in the playoffs.
“As a coach, you never want to try and predict what you might do, and take it one week at a team,” Miller said.
“Our guys have done a great job all year, as well as our coaches. We are lucky and fortunate to be 12-0.”
Smith said the team will enjoy the win tonight, but will get back to business immediately.
“We have practice Monday.”