Midway’s varsity football team traveled into Wayne County on Friday night as they took on new conference foe Spring Creek. The Raiders made the plays they needed to, escaping with a 21-14 victory.
The Gators, who were celebrating homecoming, entered the contest with an overall record of 3-1 and proved early on that they were going to be a formidable opponent.
After narrowly recovering the opening pooch kick by Spring Creek, Midway started in decent field position on their own 43-yard line. They quickly moved the ball down field, methodically driving deeper into Gators territory. The Raiders were unable to convert, dropping a sure touchdown on a fourth down pass as the ball dropped from Jamarius Rich’s grasp.
Spring Creek made Midway pay.
On the third play of their possession, the Gators were in the end zone on a 77-yard touchdown pass as one Raiders defender fell to the ground and another mistimed the interception attempt, allowing the Spring Creek receiver to March into the end zone uncontested.
The Gators converted the 2-point conversion and led 8-0 with 5:44 left in the first quarter.
Things went from bad to worse for Midway when quarterback Carson Calcutt was picked off at the Spring Creek 27-yard line. The Gators, riding a wave of momentum, appeared to be on the brink of blowing the game open, but the Raiders defense stood tall and held Spring Creek to three and out.
Though the offense continued to struggle.
Midway’s next possession began at the Spring Creek 49-yard line, but a personal foul penalty charged against the Raiders wiped out a big gain deeper into Gators territory. It instead shoved Midway back to within their own. The drive stalled and Midway was forced to punt.
The first quarter ended with Midway trailing 8-0, but the Raiders defense was able to contain the Spring Creek offense to reclaim possession.
Finally, with 6:47 remaining in the first half, the Raiders found pay dirt on a quarterback keeper by Calcutt. Spring Creek blocked the PAT, allowing the Gators to hold onto the lead at 8-6.
Midway’s defense again came up big on the ensuing Gators possession as Rich came away with an interception of his own at the Raiders 20-yard line.
Midway quickly moved down the field, taking advantage of a 46-yard pass from Calcutt to Donte Blue down to the Gators 5-yard line. Two plays later, Javen Covington was in the end zone for Raiders. Rich completed the 2-point conversion on a pass from Calcutt to make it 14-8 Midway with 2:31 remaining in the half.
Spring Creek was able to put together one last threat in the half. After converting on a 4th-down gamble from well inside their own territory, the Gators quickly worked their was down the field. With just under a minute to go Rich secured his second interception off a tipped ball by teammate Logan Rogers to shut down the threat.
Midway would lead 14-8 at the half.
After the homecoming festivities at halftime, the two teams remained deadlocked at 14-8 throughout much of the second half.
Perhaps one of the more important points of the game came when Spring Creek fumbled away a sure touchdown on the first possession of the half.
The Gators had first and goal on the Midway 1-yard line but an errant snap over the quarterbacks head was recovered by Rogers back at the 20-yard line. Although Midway’s offense wasn’t able to secure points, they at least kept Spring Creek at bay.
Much of the remainder of the game would be each team trading failed drives one after the other, but the with time ticking away, Spring Creek finally caught a break.
A squandered punt attempt by Midway put the Gators with great field position, taking over on the Midway 38-yard line with 8:51 remaining in the game. Just 47 seconds later, the Gators come up with their second big passing play of the game, scoring on a 45-yard passing play by Javon Newsome. The 2-point try failed, yielding a tie ball game at 14-14 with 8:04 remaining.
On the ensuing Midway drive, the Raiders didn’t panic as they dug in for a drive with the intentions of easing their way down the field and melting the clock. They took over with 8 minutes to go in the game and had drained a large chunk of time off the clock when they were faced with 4th and 11 with about 1:40 left in the game.
With the possibility of overtime looming, the Raiders converted the 4th down and were set up with first and goal on the 3-yard line. One play later Midway was in for the TD as Covington scored again to reclaim the lead for his team. The PAT was good and Midway was back on top 21-14 with 1:22 remaining.
Spring Creek was unable to answer, going four and out to end the game and give Midway the 21-14 win.
After the game, Midway coach Jason Fussell reflected that his team is still young and learning but continues to get better week to week.
Leaders for Midway were Calcutt, who had 58 rushing yards on five attempts and 8-of-16 passing for 126 yards. Blue was the leading receiver with one catch for 28 yards and Shaq Bailey led the defensive attack with five tackles.
With the win, Midway now sits at 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the East Central 2A Conference. They next have a date with Wallace-Rose Hill on Friday in Spivey’s Corner at 7 p.m.
Reach Daron Barefoot at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.