By Tony Burns
After Sheridan had driven 80 yards in seven plays and scored a touchdown to tie El Dorado 17-17 with 6:29 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats misplayed the ensuing pooch kickoff. The Yellowjackets took the ball right back against a weary defense just 42 yards away from a game-changing touchdown and probably 20 yards from a go-ahead field goal attempt.
El Dorado’s defense gave up runs of 3, 2 and 2 yards. On fourth-and-3, the Wildcats forced an incomplete pass to give the offense the ball back at the 35.
El Dorado went on to win 31-17 Friday at Memorial Stadium. That defensive series was as crucial as any during the game.
“That was huge. That was a big moment for our defense and our team because that game could’ve turned again,” said El Dorado coach Scott Reed. “That was a great series defensively after we mishandled that kickoff because momentum had changed. Those are things we can build on because those are things good teams have to do.”
It was also a nice pick-me-up for the Wildcats’ defense, which had surrendered 45 yards in penalties to the Yellowjackets on the 80-yard scoring drive.
“That was very big,” said defensive coordinator Justin Wylie. “They could’ve very easily took that momentum and gone in and been up a touchdown. We held our composure in a sudden change situation and we got ‘em off the field, which was really good. That’s what we want to do and we went out and we did it.”
Sheridan had 113 yards rushing on 36 attempts and completed 9-of-25 passes for 53 yards.
Quentin Frazier led the Wildcats with 11 total tackles, including eight unassisted with two sacks and two tackles for losses. Zac Donahue had eight tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack. Camerious Rucks had seven tackles. Gavin Heustis had eight tackles. Calab Scott had six tackles. Jacoby Hankton had five tackles.
The Wildcats had 95 penalty yards on defense including six 15-yard penalties.
“We did some very not-smart things. Late in the game, we’re up two scores. It’s third-and-16 and we don’t stop on the whistle and we get a late-hit. That’s not smart on our part,” said Wylie. “Ninety-five yards in penalties – I get an occasion face mask. But, we had two of ‘em and both of them were 15 yarders. We were sloppy and did some things we shouldn’t have done.
“We’ve got to think better on our feet and be smarter when it comes to stuff. We can’t survive giving up 45 yards in penalties on a drive.”
El Dorado’s defense made the big stop when it had to on Friday. It can’t keep playing on the edge, however, especially with Benton coming up on Friday.
“We did some things well. But, we’ve got to be more sharp adjusting to things and continue to play with great effort,” said Wylie.