Wildcats’ Second Half Turnaround Leads To Indians’ First Loss
-- Wildwood, FL. Written By: Wes Trotta
On Friday night, Keystone Heights traveled to Wildwood to take on the Wildcats with hopes of leaving undefeated. However, after the Wildcats’ incredible second half, the Indians left with a 28-21 loss.
This game was close from the start, with both defenses forcing punt after punt.
The Wildcats’ offense was able to strike first on a deep pass from quarterback Nate Mikell to wide receiver Alfred Corbin.
Those two were the heart of the Wildcats offense, on Friday. It was clear that Mikell was at his best when looking for Corbin.
“Corbin is one of my top receivers since we lost one of our receivers in week three,” Mikell added. “I feel like he’s going to be the number one."
He was definitely the number one on Friday, but the Wildcats’ offense still struggled in the first half. Corbin’s touchdown was the only time they scored, that half.
The rest of the first half included the Indians running the ball and the Wildcats doing everything they could to stop it—but they had no luck. The Indians were able to put up two touchdowns before halftime, one of which came on a fourth-and-goal run from running back Kade Sanders.
Sanders consistently found running lanes and gashed the Wildcats, putting his team in good position to stay undefeated.
Heading into halftime down seven, head coach J.B. Bynum needed to make changes and remind his team what they are capable of. “Just for one, we had to play a little harder,” Bynum said. “We had a couple of missed assignments.”
The adjustments did not kick in immediately, as the Indians defense made a stop early setting up another rushing touchdown for the Indians, this time by Ty Friedlin.
That was the last time the Indians would score.
Following all of the frustration brewing on the Wildcats sidelines, an outpour of big plays they had had been seeking finally took over the game.
Almost all of the big plays came when Mikell targeted Corbin.
After struggling to consistently connect on deep passes in the first half, Bynum knew that was going to be key in putting points on the board. “We were going to continue to take those shots and, ya know, just keep playing and hopefully those shots would pay off.”
They started to pay off. Mikell found Corbin deep down the left sideline for a touchdown to pull with seven.
Then, with seven minutes left in the game, Corbin got behind the defense after a perfect double move to pull within one. “I was running in hitches all night,” Corbin said about his route that got him behind everyone. “I knew somebody was gonna bite.”
After his third touchdown catch, Corbin had an immediate encore by catching the two-point conversion.
At that point, the Wildcats were up 22-21 and suddenly had all the momentum after it seemed like frustration was beginning to get to them.
Mikell never lost faith.
“We stayed positive throughout the whole game and came out with a victory.”
And neither did the defense.
“Well, they’ve had their backs against the wall a few times this year, I mean, and they came out swinging,” Coach Bynum added. “That’s one thing I can say, they feed off of turnovers.”
After taking the lead, the defense made another stop. This time, a fumble recovered by the Wildcats.
Putting the ball back in Mikell’s hands with seven minutes left, they turned to the ground game. Running the ball was a struggle all night, but not on this drive.
Running back Devin Pinkard ran hard and picked up first down after first down before punching it in and extending the lead to seven.
After one more defensive stop, it was over. Bynum said, “It’s a good win for us, a good win for the program.”
Player Of The Game
Alfred Corbin, Receiver: Three touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Was Mikell’s go to guy all night and made contested catches.