E.A. Sports Today

Tigers take one

Cleburne County rallies from 17-point deficit, scores with 2:00 left to beat White Plains, snap nine-game losing streak

Cleburne County’s Richard Cantrell (1) gets a block and heads for the end zone. Cantrell scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes to key the Tigers’ comeback. (Photo by Jonathan Fordham)

By East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN – The Cleburne County Tigers needed a win in the worst possible way and they got it one of the most dramatic fashions possible.

Richard Cantrell raced 61 yards with an option pitch to score with two minutes to play, lifting the Tigers to a 30-27 come-from-behind victory over White Plains Friday night.

The win snapped a nine-game losing streak and was only their second win since Sept. 9, 2016.

Cleburne County assistant coach Mike Altman, a former White Plains head coach (2001-07), points skyward after the Tigers beat the Wildcats. (Photo by Jonathan Fordham)

The Tigers (1-6, 1-3) trailed 17-0, 17-8 at halftime and 19-8 entering the fourth quarter.

“We needed a good win,” Tigers offensive coordinator C.J. Boyd said. “Our kids responded so well. They’ve faced adversity all year, faced some early tonight. We had some bad things happen but the kids stayed the course, did what they had to do and pulled it out.”

The Tigers took their first lead at 22-19 on Cantrell’s 7-yard run with 4:03 to play. The Wildcats (2-4, 1-3) appeared to quash the rally when Jaden Harris went 24 yards on an end around and Carson Wright ran in the conversion for a 27-22 lead with 2:22 to play.

On the next possession, Cleburne County quarterback Reese Morrison ran about 10 yards with the option, then pitched to the trailing Cantrell who took it the rest of the way to the end zone. Arcavius Brown stretched the lead to three with the conversion.

It still wasn’t over. The Tigers still had to get a stop to preserve the victory. Boyd said the defense “played unbelievable those four downs,” pressuring quarterback Jaden Chatman, sacking him twice and eventually forcing the Wildcats into a fourth-and-30 to stay alive.

“We’re not built to throw it like that,” White Plains coach Chris White said.

The game was similar to what the Wildcats experienced last year when they held several leads in the fourth quarter and couldn’t bring them home. They also were hurt Friday night by fumbling away the opening drive of the second half at the Heflin 1 and turning it over on downs at the 3 when they needed just a yard to move the chains.

“I thought we were playing some good football (early),” White said. “I told the guys we showed we can compete. We need to win.”

Cantrell finished with 75 yards rushing; he also had 46 yards receiving. Arcavius Brown led the Tigers’ rushing attack with 120 yards on 24 carries. Isavia Brown had 61 yards rushing.

Harris rushed for 67 yards, while Wright had 63. Chatman threw for 111 yards on 4-of-6 passing.

Cleburne County 30, White Plains 27
Team stats WP Cleb

First downs 17 16
Rushes-yds 53-209 32-261
Passes 4-6-0 4-10-0
Passing yds 111 65
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Punts-avg 2-36.5 4-8.3
Penalties-yds 6-70 8-85

Scoring summary
White Plains 10 7 2 8 — 27
Cleburne Co. 0 8 0 22 — 30

W – Safety, Will Osteen sacks quarterback in end zone, 7:52 1Q
W – Jaden Harris 9 run (Carson Wright pass from Jaden Chatman), 5:26 1Q
W – Garrison Abbott 1 run (Jarrett Crow kick), 10:52 2Q
C – Isavia Brown 62 run (Arcavius Brown run), 10:32 2Q
W – Safety, blocked punt out of end zone, 2:14 3Q
C – Arcavius Brown 3 run (Arcavius Brown run), 9:33 4Q
C – Richard Cantrell 7 run (kick failed), 4:03 4Q
W – Jaden Harris 24 run (Carson Wright run), 2:22 4Q
C – Richard Cantrell 61 run (Arcavius Brown run), 2:00 4Q

White Plains’ Ethan Bozarth (L) moves in to block Joseph Stephens’ punt and create a third-quarter safety for the Wildcats. (Photo by Greg Warren)

On the cover: Cleburne County offensive coordinator C.J. Boyd embraces quarterback Reese Morrison after the Tigers rallied to beat White Plains for their first win of the season. (Photo by Jonathan Fordham)

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