By: Daniel Simmons
Sitting at 0-1 after a close loss in the opening game at at Pineville, the WSHS Tigers headed to Columbia in Week 2 hungry for their first win of the season. Standing in the way of that goal were the Caldwell Spartans, who were out for revenge after losing a close one to the Tigers in Winnfield the year before. It was the Spartans who would ultimately prevail, winning by a final score of 46-19.
The Tigers kicked off to start the game, and the Spartans scored a touchdown on a strong opening drive that consisted entirely of running plays, taking an immediate 7-0 lead. Jaylon Jackson returned the ensuing kickoff for the Tigers, his first appearance in game action this season after missing Week 1 with an injury. He looked good in his debut and scored two touchdowns; one rushing and another receiving, and had several nice kickoff returns. The Tigers were forced to punt on their first drive, but Ryan Davis made up for it with an excellent punt that the Spartan returner fielded inside his own 5-yard line. The returner ran backwards trying to make a big play and was nearly tackled for a safety, being brought down at his own 1/2-yard line. The Spartans managed to advance the ball away from the goal line, but eventually fumbled and the Tigers recovered deep in Spartan territory. The Tigers capitalized on the fumble recovery and tied the game at 7 with a touchdown pass from Damascus Lewis to Jaylon Jackson.
The Tigers would make a stop in the red zone on the next Spartan offensive possession, and went back to work on offense near their own 10. However, they fumbled and the ball was kicked backwards near the goal line, and the Spartans recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown to retake the lead, 14-7. Both teams had issues holding onto the football throughout the night, as it had rained earlier in the day, and it was very humid with a good amount of dew making for wet grass.
The Tigers looked poised to tie the game again, with quarterback Damascus Lewis leading them down the field and making some impressive throws. They made it all the way to the Spartan 1-yard line, but Caldwell’s defense made a play that would end up being the turning point of the game. The Tigers attempted a run up the middle, but fumbled, and the ball was kicked back to about the 25, picked up by the Spartans and returned to midfield. They then drove down to the Winnfield 2, where the quarterback ran it in for a score, taking a 20-7 lead into halftime. However, the Tigers answered right back at the start of the second half when sophomore Craig St. Cyr received the second half kickoff and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked, making the score 20-13 in favor of Caldwell.
The Spartan offense continued to make big plays all throughout the second half, also making several long kickoff returns. They answered the opening second half touchdown quickly, extending their lead to 27-13. The Tigers brought it back within one score on Jaylon Jackson’s second touchdown of the night, 27-19, but that would be their final points for the night. Caldwell scored three more touchdowns on the evening, making the score 46-19 when the clock reached zero in the fourth quarter.
The road stretch finally ends for the Tigers this week, and they will play their first home contest of the year at Stokes-Walker Stadium on Friday. The Cedar Creek Cougars will come to town looking for their first win of the year, just like the Tigers. The Cougars sit at 0-2, most recently losing a home game to Vidalia, 14-12.