Sardis holds off White Plains, 42-41, on homecoming

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By Brandon Carter/Sand Mountain Reporter

With 45 seconds left in the game, White Plains found itself with a chance to steal a victory out from under Sardis in a Class 4A, Region 6 matchup.

With the Lions clinging to a 42-41 lead, the Wildcats (1-4, 0-3) lined up to go for the two-point conversion. 

The ‘Cats sweep to the right was met by a horde of Sardis defenders, and the Lions (3-3, 2-2) exited Sardis Stadium with the 42-41 homecoming victory.

On White Plains’ first possession, Andrew Hudson’s pass missed its target and landed into the hands of the Lions’ Jesse Hubbard.

Sardis fumbled away the ball a few plays later, however, and eight plays later, Lawrence Jackson found the end zone on a 16-yard dash. Hudson’s extra point made the score 7-0 with 5:14 in the first.

The Lions answered with 20 seconds left in the first quarter when quarterback Logan Gaskin found Austin Hallmark for a 17-yard touchdown pass. Sawyer Cahela was a perfect 6-of-6 on extra points, and his first made the scored 7-7.

Sardis scored again with 7:35 left in the half, as Hubbard fell across the goal line from the 1. The extra point made the score 14-7.

With less than a minute left in the half, the Lions scored again on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Gaskin to senior receiver Tristan McCurley.

Sardis took a 21-7 lead into the half, but the game was far from over for the Wildcats.

Keenan Lewis began the scoring in the second half, with the junior running back going 61 yards for the touchdown. After the extra point, the Lions held a commanding 28-7 lead with 11:31 in the third.

But the Wildcats converted on a 25-yard double-reverse pass for a touchdown from running back Dillon Greenwood to receiver Nathan Gilbert. The point after was no good.

With 9:27 left in the third, the score was 28-13.

Later in the quarter, Hudson found Greenwood for a 67-yard touchdown pass, but the two-point attempt was no good. 

Still, White Plains was within 28-19 with 4:10 left in the quarter, and two plays from scrimmage later, the Wildcats’ Alex Howard pulled down an interception.

White Plains took over at the Sardis 17, and Jackson found the end zone on a 6-yard sweep. This time the two-pointer was converted, and the ‘Cats found themselves down by just a point.

Late in the third quarter, Lewis tweaked a recurring ankle injury and was unable to return.

On fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter, Gaskin lobbed the ball to McCurley, but the pass was tipped off of his hands. Luckily for the Lions, Hallmark was standing in the right place at the right time and he was able to secure the touchdown catch. The extra point made the score 35-27 with 5:51 left in the game.

After nine plays, Jackson found the end zone again for the third time. The Wildcats had to go for two points, and Jackson caught the flip and barreled over the goal line.

With the game tied at 35, the Lions lined up to receive the kickoff, and as Hubbard was taken down by a White Plains defender his knee twisted and he collapsed to the ground.

Hubbard fortunately made his way to the sidelines, and senior Bryan Noblitt took over at the position. From that point, Noblitt put the team on his shoulders.

Noblitt took the ball four times and drove 62 yards for the score. The Lions regained the lead, and the extra point made the score 42-35 with 1:23 remaining.

The ensuing kickoff was short, and a facemask penalty gave the Wildcats a favorable field position. White Plains took the ball into the end zone a few plays later when Lawrence caught a long touchdown pass from Hudson.

White Plains decided to go for the win on the next play, but the Lions were ready for it, stuffing the ‘Cats about a yard and a half short of the goal line.

For Sardis, Lewis rushed for 123 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries, while Hubbard rushed for 71 yards and one score on 15 carries. 

Noblitt rushed for 62 yards and a TD on four carries.

Gaskin was 12-of-20 for 115 yards and three touchdowns.

Austin Hallmark had five receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns, while Hubbard had five catches for 33 yards.

Sardis travels to Heflin next week for a game against region rival Cleburne County. 

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