The Western Carolina War Eagles (3-3) hosted their conference rivals, Tri-State Wildcats (4-4) on Saturday, May 18. Ray Kinsland Stadium was in for a treat. This matchup was to decide second place in the conference and decide who would make it to the IFL playoffs, and the War Eagles edged out the Wildcats 17-16 to take that playoff spot.
The first quarter of play was a back and forth battle between the two defensive squads of each time that kept the game scoreless heading into the second quarter. The War Eagles defense decided it was time to help out their offensive teammates by adding a quick score of their own.
War Eagles linemen, led by Haile Gibson, Stephen Little and Demakus Staton, put the Wildcats’ linemen to the test as they disrupted plays all game long. With the defensive line’s help, Brett Robertson was able to scoop up a loose ball off an ill-fated option play and rumble fifteen yards for the touchdown. The two point conversion was no good.
In response, the Wildcats answered back with a 12 yard scoring pass in the back of the end zone on their ensuing possession. They were able to convert on their two point conversion with a dump pass to their tight end. Tri-State’s momentum was in their favor going into the halftime break as they led 8-6.
After the break, the War Eagles offense was able to pick up a quick score in a big way. Josue Otero ripped off a huge 68 yard rushing touchdown, breaking tackles and tightrope stepping the sideline the whole way to pay dirt. Two point conversion attempt was good as Josue Otero ran a sweep to the left side of the field making it 14-8 in favor of the War Eagles.
In true rival fashion, the Wildcats answered with a big passing play that ended with a score. Their two point conversion was good and they took the lead back at 16-14.
The War Eagles defense came up with another big 3rd and long stop by the hands of Andre Dewhurst who tackled the running back for a huge loss. After the War Eagles received the football from a punt, it was the offenses time to get their team in scoring position. Dewey Barker connected with Josue Otero for 40 yard completion to set up the field goal unit on the twelve yard line. With a minute left in the ball game, Matt Martens connected with a winning field goal try to put the final points needed to win the contest.
The Wildcats’ last ditch effort to win was brought to a sudden halt as their final pass attempt was intercepted by Austin Curtice to seal the War Eagles’ victory. Final Score: WC War Eagles 17, Tri-State Wildcats 16.
Offensive Leaders: Rushing – Josue Otero, 158 yards. Jeremy Watkins, 58 yards. Passing – Dewey Barker, 85 yards. Josue Otero – 40 receiving yards.
Defensive Leaders: Andre Dewhurst – 8 tackles, 3 for loss. Brett Robertson – 9 tackles, 1 recovered fumble (TD). Demakus Staton – 7 tackles, 1 forced fumble. Rob Welch – 6 tackles, 1 recovered fumble.
“The War Eagles would like to thank everyone involved again, without your support we would not be here,” said War Eagles officials. “Thank you to The One Feather staff. Please keep checking our facebook page andwareaglesfootball.org for playoff information and updates.”
– Western Carolina War Eagles