While the final score of the Sept. 30 Class 3A, Region 2 game between the Daleville Warhawks and Wicksburg Panthers may show a 66-22 loss for the Warhawks it definitely does not tell the entire tale.
Late in the first half, Daleville trailed 26-22 after slugging it out with the Panthers for much of the first two periods before Wicksburg scored 34 unanswered points in the final six minutes of the first half.
Wicksburg jumped out to an early 7-0 lead after a 7-yard touchdown run and then forced a quick Daleville three-and-out before the Panthers scored again to go up 14-0 after a 53-yard touchdown run.
Daleville wasn’t ready to pack it in for the night, however, as quarterback Omarion Pinckney raced 69 yards for a touchdown. The two-point try failed but Daleville managed to cut the lead to 14-6.
Wicksburg answered, however, with a 20-yard touchdown pass only for the Warhawks to come right back with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Pinckney to Marcus Smith. Pinckney’s two-point conversion cut the Wicksburg lead to 20-14.
As the second quarter began, Wicksburg scored on a 27-yard run to extend the Panther lead to 26-14. The Wicksburg 2-point try failed. Daleville responded again when Pinckney heaved a 47-yard pass to Smith. Two plays, eighth grade quarterback Reuben Garcia heaved a jump ball to senior receiver Amaury Gomez, who wrestled the ball away from a defender to secure a 20-yard touchdown pass. Smith then caught the two-point conversion from Pinckney to cut Wicksburg’s lead to 26-22.
Wicksburg answered again with a 14-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion to extend the lead to 34-22. Daleville’s offense then began to bog down and went three-and-out three straight times along with losing a fumble on a kickoff.
The Panthers scored on a 4-yard run, a 62-yard run, a 1-yard run and a fumble return for a touchdown. Wicksburg also missed two PATs and connected on two PATs to take a 60-22 lead ino halftime.
The two sides played with a running clock in the second half with the only score coming on an 82-yard Wicksburg run to make the final score 66-22.
For the game, Wicksburg put up 539 yards of offense, while Daleville totaled 197 yards with 196 of those yards coming in the first half.
Pinckney completed 4-of-5 pass attempts for 113 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 75 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Smith caught three passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Caden Elmore led the Daleville defense with five tackles and a pass breakup, while Mason Lafferty also earned five tackles and a quarterback hurry. TJ Waller totaled three tackles and three quarterback hurries, while Zacorey Culver had two tackles, a fumble recovery and a blocked PAT.