Wildcats’ defense holds off Bulldogs
THREE RIVERS — Carson Charvat blocked an extra point attempt by Vicksburg’s Joe Brady with 0:37 left to lift the Three Rivers Wildcats to a thrilling 14-13 win at Armstrong Field in the fifth annual Swinebone Game Friday.
Vicksburg trailed Three Rivers 14-7 with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Bulldogs got the football back deep inside Wildcats’ territory with 0:37 remaining.
Vicksburg senior quarterback Brenden Lovell fired a 20-yard touchdown pass into the hands of senior wide receiver Blake Rankin to lessen the Bulldogs’ deficit to one.
Bulldogs’ head coach Tom Marchese decided to kick an extra point to force the ‘Cats into a possible overtime.
Charvat bolted through the Vicksburg defensive line and blocked Brady’s PAT attempt.
The Wildcats were whistled for a personal foul and the Bulldogs got a second chance to kick it half the distance to the goal line.
Again Marchese elected to kick the extra point. Spared by a great block from teammate Tyler Moore on the ‘Cats defensive line, Charvat broke through the Bulldogs’ defensive line on the next play to recover the ball.
Three Rivers took over possession of the ball with 0:34 and the Wildcats’ offense marched onto the field, snapped the ball and ran out the clock, sending the hometown fans into a frenzy of celebration.
“Our defense really clicks. Our coaches push us extremely hard in practice every day. We had some guys out tonight, but we showed we have some depth and we went out and won,” said the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Charvat about the blocked kick.
“Tyler Moore threw a key block and I got through the line and got it. No one expected us to win this season, but the guys on our team knew what we were capable of.”
Minutes before its second TD, Vicksburg had lessened its deficit to seven, 14-7 with 9:59 left in the fourth quarter on Lovell’s 9-yard scoring strike to Blake Rankin.
A big defensive stand by the Bulldogs’ defense helped set up the Bulldogs’ score.
The win allows Three Rivers to finish in a second-place tie in the conference with Vicksburg at 7-2.
Three Rivers lost the battle but not the war.
“It sounds cliché, but our defense was just solid and our offense got just enough to put points on the board,” said Three Rivers coach J. J. Wagner.
“We won some field position and our defense came up with a couple turnovers in the first half. How many times do you get a second chance to block a kick?
“Carson told me in the timeout he would get through the line and block the kick. Vicksburg is a heck of a football team. No one envisioned us being where we are at. That’s a tribute to our seniors.
“This is it for them. They didn’t want their senior year to be a losing one. We’ve been able to find a way to win.”
Please see Saturday’s Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.