After barely missing the playoffs, the 6-2 White County Middle School Warriors welcomed in a good Livingston Wildcats team to finish off both team’s seasons with a bowl matchup. The Warriors came in ready to play and were hitting on all cylinders, even though they were missing several starters due to illness.
Livingston started with the ball but were unable to gain the 10 yards needed for a first down. The WCMS Warriors took over and got their run game going with strong runs by both JoJo Dowell and Cole Sims. Exavior Gamblin may have had the catch of the year as he made a juggling, diving catch just outside the goal line for a huge first down. Sims would score the touchdown and conversion giving the Warriors the early 8-0 lead.
The Warriors’ defense held firm again and forced a punt. Gamblin had a beautiful punt return for a touchdown, but it was called back for a penalty which seemed to everyone in the stadium except the referee to have happened after Gamblin had already scored. The Warriors would not be denied, however, as Gamblin threw a beautiful 22-yard pass to JG Wallace to start the second quarter, giving the Warriors a 14-0 lead.
After another defensive stand. Tucker Pinion carried the ball 15 yards for another Warrior score. Sims added the conversion making the score 22-0.
The Wildcats tried their best to get the ball moving and were able to get their first first down late in the second quarter. They then tried to get creative with a double reverse pass. However, Brayden Blanchard was not fooled and was in perfect position to make his first interception of the year. Dowell would take the next handoff 64 yards for a quick touchdown. Sims added the conversion making the score 30-0. Before the end of the half Dowell would continue his stellar night as he picked off a pass of his own.
The second half started a with a great return giving the WCMS Warriors the ball on the 22-yard line. A few plays later Gamblin would score on a swing pass from Pinion. Dowell added the conversion extending the lead to 38-0.
The coaching staff began making mass substitutions for the Warriors. The Wildcat offense started getting some traction and scored to begin the fourth quarter making the score 38-8. The Warriors went to their all-linemen offense giving the eighth-grade linemen the chance to run the ball. After turning the ball over on downs, the Warriors gave up another touchdown. The Wildcats gave the ball to their biggest lineman for the two-point conversion, but he was met in the hole by Tytus Scott, and the conversion failed. The score was then 38-14.
Sims took the ensuing kickoff back for a long touchdown. Coach Brown put his “linemen offense” in for the two-point conversion. Arian Qualls lived every lineman’s dream as he took the ball and made his way into the endzone. The score moved to 46-14
After a Livingston fumble on the next drive, the Warriors’ backups continued to play hard, and Blanchard had his second big play of the night as he took the ball around the outside and scored his first touchdown of the season. The final score was 52-14.
Coach Aaron Brown led his middle school Warriors to an impressive 7-2 record in his first season as the head coach. Brown spent some extra time after the game with the eighth graders, thanking them for their hard work and promising to be there for them as they made their way through high school and beyond. There is much excitement around the middle school program. The Warriors will return their top two running backs, a quarterback, and several linemen next year. The WCMS Warriors would like to thank all their fans and the community for their support this year.