Wakulla’s football team had already played three challenging games this season, and its only loss prior to Friday night was its season opener against Spartanburg (S.C.), which is now the No. 12 team in the country.
Because of that, the War Eagles weren’t fazed by Rickards entering the county for a District 2-5A game. Wakulla locked up a district title by beating the Raiders, 20-13, on Friday night at J.D. Jones Stadium but needed a second-half comeback to do so.
Down 13-6 at half, War Eagles quarterback Feleipe Franks completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Cephus Greene at the end of the third quarter to tie, then Franks hit Kelton Donaldson on a 50-yard post on third-and-14 in the fourth quarter for the game-winning score.
Franks also hooked up with Keith Gavin on a 34-yard touchdown strike, that coming in the first quarter as Wakulla (6-1, 2-0) answered Rickards’ opening touchdown.
Raiders quarterback D.J. Phillips was 5 for 6 passing for 50 yards on the opening drive, hitting Chad Hunter on a 15-yard touchdown. Delvon Williams 6-yard run in the second quarter gave Rickards (5-2, 0-1) a lead at halftime.
The Raiders drove to the Wakulla 22 with 40 seconds remaining, but the War Eagles’ defense came up with a big stop and a sack ended the game.
Rickards now faces Godby on Oct. 30 for a spot in the playoffs.
Rutherford 28, East Gadsden 26
On Thursday night in Panama City, the winless Jaguars held a lead with under a minute remaining but couldn’t hold on to halt a 17-game losing streak.
East Gadsden running back Stephon Simpkins rushed for 133 yards on 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 61 and 44 yards in the third quarter in a see-saw affair.
The Jaguars (0-7, 0-2 District 2-4A) were up 26-20 with 3:13 left in the game after holding Rutherford (2-6, 1-1) at the 1 on three straight plays to take over on downs.
But backed into a corner and forced to punt from the end zone, East Gadsden elected to take a safety and make the game 26-22, then kick off from a normal distance.
The ensuing kickoff, however, was returned 16 yards to just short of midfield, and the Rams completed a 27-yard pass to set up show just outside the red zone with time winding under a minute.
Rutherford running back Kai Kirts scored his third touchdown of the game with just 25 seconds remaining, meaning the Rams picked up the victory in what was essentially an elimination game for the playoffs.
East Gadsden has games remaining on its schedule against Jefferson County and in-district against undefeated Walton.
“The kids are playing better, it’s just not showing up on the W side,” Jaguars coach Corey Fuller said. “They’re better in class and better in practice. They’re better and you can see it on the scoreboard. Our defense just wasn’t consistent. We made a big stop earlier but couldn’t when it counted.”
NFC 53, Maclay 3
The Eagles made quick work of the Marauders in a District 2-2A game that was the first meeting between the two rival schools during a regular season game.
NFC running back Korey Charles rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Eagles (5-2, 1-0) to a convincing win where they led 46-0 at halftime. NFC quarterback Avery Thomas threw three touchdown passes, while Matthew Dickey and Troy Jones also reached the end zone.
Maclay (1-5, 0-1), picked up an interception from senior cornerback Jacob Sniffen during the game. The Marauders kicked a late field goal to keep from getting shut out.
Santa Fe 46, Chiles 10
The Timberwolves scored the game’s first 10 points, but Santa Fe got its wing-T offense in gear to score 46 unanswered points. Chiles receiver John Mitchell caught seven passes for 132 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
Santa Fe piled up 444 yards rushing versus the Timberwolves’ 108, as the area’s leading rusher Shane Sanders was limited to 62 yards on 19 carries.
Mosley 44, Florida High 28
Mosley went for a surprise onside kick on the opening kickoff and the surprise carried over for a half as the host Dolphins went up 14-0 and led 23-7 at halftime.
Florida High quarterback Isaiah Hill ran and threw for touchdowns, while Mike Greaves broke a long touchdown run, but the Seminoles failed to fully take advantage of the opportunities afford when Mosley turned the ball over on four possessions.
Mosley (4-3) was up 37-7 before Florida High put together a run of points late to make the score look respectable. The non-district loss drops the Seminoles to 5-3 on the season.
West Gadsden 40, Franklin Co. 20
The Panthers (2-4) rushed for a total of 297 yards in Friday night’s victory over the Seahawks (2-5). West Gadsden running back Sammy Carter led the team with 71 rushing yards, while Ray Allen added 62 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Lincoln 21, Leon 7
Trojans receiver Fred Daughtry posted touchdown receptions of 22 and 7 yards, while Ricky Henrilus’ 1-yard touchdown run complemented Denzel Washington’s 147 rushing yards and Lincoln (2-5, 1-1) picked up a District 2-7A win over Leon.
The Lions (2-5, 0-1) got 104 yards rushing and a touchdown from Sam Thomas, but Leon missed out on red zone opportunities with a missed field goal and an interception.
Blountstown 42, Freeport 0
St. Joseph Academy 10, John Paul II 7
Mosley 44, Florida High 28
Jefferson Co. 20, Hamilton Co. 14
Rocky Bayou 47, Munroe 0
Madison Co. 53, Lafayette 6
Taylor Co. 35, Pensacola Catholic 26