GALLATIN - Wilson Central spoiled Gallatin’s homecoming Friday night as the Wildcats left the Wave Yard with a hard-fought 25-21 non-conference victory.
The loss for Gallatin was their third in-a-row, dropping to 3-3 overall, while Wilson Central improves its record to 3-3.
Questions surrounded both teams.
For Wilson Central, the Wildcat faithful wondered if they would see the Wilson Central team that struggled offensively, or if they would see the team that put up 49 points against Kenwood two weeks ago.
After missing two PAT’s last week, many Gallatin fans were wondering how their special teams would perform.
Gallatin started out strong, mixing in both the run and pass for their first series. Quarterback Mason Stanley capped off their opening touchdown drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone. Ashton Kelley’s PAT was successful, giving Gallatin a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the game.
Wilson Central responded in quick fashion as quarterback Tristan Lewis and running back Zavier Ali led the team down the field as Lewis finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown run of his own. The PAT missed, leaving Wilson Central down 7-6 with four minutes left in the opening frame.
Both teams traded punts until midway through the second quarter as Gallatin jumped out to a 14-6 lead with 7:53 left in the half.
Senior running back Montez Banks found paydirt from four-yards out.
“We didn’t look good to start the game, but we settled down and played better defense,” said Wilson Central head coach Brad Dedman.
After forcing a punt on defense, Wilson Central got the ball back with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats cut their deficit to one following an Ali 54-yard touchdown run. Their two-point conversion failed, keeping the score in favor of the Green Wave, 14-13.
Robbie Spickard intercepted a Mason Stanley pass on the ensuing drive at the Green Wave 37-yard line, and the Wildcats scored five plays later on a short Ali run with 4:59 left in the third frame. The Gallatin defense again stopped the Wildcats two-point conversion, keeping the score 18-14 in favor of Wilson Central.
The Green Wave found some luck on the next drive as a deflected Mason Stanley pass in the end zone ended up in Daniel Phillips’ hands for the score. Following Kelley’s second PAT of the night the Wave retook the lead with 1:23 left in the third quarter, 21-18.
Wilson Central scored what would-be the game-winning touchdown with 5:16 left in the game following big runs from Ali of 24 and 25 yards. With a fresh set of downs on the one-yard line, Ali bullied his way through the Green Wave defense to reclaim the lead. Estebon Hurtado’s PAT sailed through for the 25-21 lead.
With 99 yards to march in 1:23, Gallatin got out of the shadows of the goal line with a 25-yard pass on third down, but two plays later CJ Hatchett intercepted a Stanley pass ending the game.
“Our offense carried us tonight, but I was proud of our O-line, they played well. We’ve preached all week long about getting some turnovers and the two picks were big tonight. We are happy to win tonight,” added Dedman.
Central's Ali had a magnificent night, running for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Added Gallatin head coach Chad Watson: “We played a good football team, we have got to clean up our play because it is not getting any easier. We have a lot of tough games coming up.”
Gallatin will host Henry County next week while Wilson Central will entertain Region 4, 6A opponent Hendersonville.