Photo: Gadsden City High’s Jaylen Cole (2) stays on his feet after a catch during the Titans’ 38-35 loss Huntsville last Friday (Oct. 27). (Photo by Gary Wells)
By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Both Gadsden City High’s season and postseason hopes came down to one moment in time last Friday (Oct. 27) in Gadsden.
In a battle for the fourth and final playoff seed in Class 7A, Region 4, Huntsville’s Jackson Bruno drilled a 42-yard field goal with :01 remaining to send the Panthers to a 38-35 win and the state playoffs and the Titans home until next season.
The game actually came down to a controversial play when Gadsden City was called for defensive holding, a penalty that gave the visitors a chance for the game-winning kick.
“We made a lot of mistakes but played with a lot of heart,” said a disappointed GCHS head coach Bart Sessions after the game. It’s bad when a game comes down to such a controversial call. It’s disappointing when you don’t get to where you want to be.”
Gadsden City (3-7, 3-4) jumped to an early 14-0 lead before Huntsville roared back to send the game to halftime tied at 14-14.
The Panthers (5-4, 3-4) took the lead for good with 6:46 to go in the third quarter, driving 80 yards in only two plays. Willie McCaulley broke loose on a 72-yard run for the score. The junior running back rushed for 175 yards on 17 carries to lead all rushers.
Gadsden City answered with 4:24 to go in the third, driving 80 yards in five plays to send the game to the final quarter knotted at 21.
The teams traded touchdowns like two heavyweight prizefighters swapped punches for the entire fourth quarter.
Huntsville took a 28-21 lead and the Titans answered.
The Panthers then scored with 4:17 remaining to take a 35-28 lead, but Gadsden City answered with 1:36 remaining.
Huntsville then drove from their 33-yard line to the Gadsden City 25 yard line with :01 remaining to set up Bruno’s heroics.
For the Titans, Jamontez Woods rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, Jaelyn Fleming ran eight times for 86 yards and a score.
Ryan Sparks completed 15 of 25 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, while LaRay Mostella had five receptions for 61 yards.