Warren County's Screaming Devils have their work cut out for them this week and need a little luck, too, after losing Friday's contest to Wilkinson County, 34-22.
Warren County entered the home contest needing to win its last two regular season games to make the playoffs. A win by either team Friday night meant that the other team's chances at the postseason were greatly diminished.
The meaning of the night's game was not lost on Warren County's head coach, David Daniel. After being unable to be on the sidelines for the previous week's loss to Washington-Wilkes, Daniel returned to lead the Devils again.
Whether due to the added importance of the game or the presence of the coach, the Screaming Devils seemed to rise to the occasion early in the contest. Warren County put up its best first half offensive performance in weeks as both teams traded the lead back and forth.
The Warriors struck first on a 10-yard run for a touchdown by Wilkinson County quarterback David Whipple. The extra point gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 8:12 to go in the first quarter.
Warren County answered on its very next possession. Damien Clark connected with Ed'Ricus Williams on a 23-yard pass for a touchdown. The extra point by Williams was good, and the score was tied at 7-7 with 6:15 left in the first quarter.
Wilkinson County wasted no time reclaiming the lead. On the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Whipple connected downfield with a Wilkinson receiver for a 50-yard strike to the 6-yard-line. Tyler Franklin took the ball into the end zone for the Warriors to once again put Wilkinson County on top. The extra point was no good and Wilkinson County led 13-7.
Then the offense slowed for both teams, as neither was able to add points to the board until late in the second quarter. With less than three minutes left in the half, Clark rifled a pass across the middle intended for Warren County tight end Deondre Battle. Battle tipped the ball into the air for what looked to be an incomplete pass until Devarius Davis reached out to gather the ball in and carry it to the Warrior 15-yard line.
After Dextrell Norris got the Devils inside the 5, Davis pounded it the rest of the way to tie the game once again. Williams' extra point gave Warren County the lead 14-13 with 2:18 to go in the first half.
Warren County's lead would not last long. Wilkinson County quickly moved the ball down the field to set up one last score before the half. Whipple ran the quarterback keeper from inside the 10-yard line to put the Warriors back on top. The 2-point conversion gave Wilkinson a 21-14 lead at the half.
The third quarter was all Wilkinson County as the Warriors added two more scores with runs by Whipple.
The Devils were unable to match with scores of their own and found themselves trailing 34-14 at the end of the period.
Neither team would score in the fourth quarter until Jabari Wilson took it into the end zone on a short run with 48 seconds to go. Norris ran the 2-point conversion in for the Devils, making the final score 34-22.
Wilson led all rushers in the game with 116 yards with one touchdown on 18 carries. Norris had 79 yards on nine carries and Davis carried the ball seven times for 18 yards and one touchdown. Davis also had two completions for 31 yards. Williams had one completion for 23 yards and Norris added one completion for 11 yards.
The loss means that Warren County will now need a win against Aquinas on Friday night and have Washington-Wilkes lose to Twiggs County in order to make the playoffs. Twiggs County enters the week winless for the 2011 season.
Warren County will play Aquinas at Albert J. Massey Field in its last game of the regular season.