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Gld Hurricanes Sports

Fourth-down plays fuels 'Canes

Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011 by Sidney McClain
Fourth-down plays fuel ’Canes

McClain, defense spark Wren

By Scott Keeler

Even fourth downs early in the third quarter can be key plays in a football game.

On Friday night at Wren High’s Jack King Stadium, a pair of fourth-down plays set the tone for the rest of
the game. J.L. Mann didn’t make theirs. The Hurricanes did and went on to a 34-17 win.

The Patriots took the ball to start the second half trailing 14-10. On fourth­and- one at Wren’s 46-yard line, Mann running back Will Hopkins suffered a rare stop for no gain.

“Everything that hap­pened after that fourth down is on me, because we should have just punted it,” said Mann coach Brian Strickland. “Our defense
had kind of figured things out, and I put our team in a bad situation.”

While questioning his call to go for it after the game, Strickland could not have questioned his deci­sion on whom to give it to.

Hopkins finished with 147 yards rushing on 20 carries. On Wren’s ensuing pos­session after the stop, Wren faced a fourth-and-one at the Mann 33-yard line.

Quarterback Caleb McClain gained four yards, and Levi
Bufford later capped the 17-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge giving Wren a 21-10 lead.

Then the snowball effect
set in on Mann. Two plays later, Wren’s Josh Rowland returned an interception nine yards for a touchdown to make it 27-10.

“I can’t say enough about what our guys did defen­sively,” said Wren coach Jeff Tate. “We had to have a big game tonight, because
J.L. Mann’s got some ath­letes. They weren’t 3-0 by beating a bunch of Scooby-Doos.”

Later in the quarter, McClain passed to Jonathan Anderson on a 45-yard touchdown to give Wren a 34-10 lead.

On a night when Mann keyed on Buford, McClain picked up the slack -- and then some.

McClain finished with 127 yards rushing and a touchdown on 21 attempts.

McClain also threw for 209 yards and a pair of touch­downs. Buford had 69 yards rushing.

“If they’re going to take Levi away -- which I don’t blame them, I would too ­then you’ve got to find a way to move the football.

And I thought Caleb had a great game,” said Tate.

Wren (4-0) opens Region 1-AAAA play with a show­down at Greenwood (3-1) next Friday. The Patriots (3-1) take on Hillcrest.


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