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Schley Edges Chattco in
Battle of Top 10 Ranked Teams
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From the October 27, 2021 issue of The Journal
By Richard Harris
   Last Friday's battle of local Top 10 ranked teams lived up to the hype, as Schley County High secured a one-point victory – 20-19 – over visiting Chattahoochee County in front of a large crowd in Wildcat Stadium. Both teams are now 7-1 and still in the hunt for the Region 5A title.
   It was a back-and-forth struggle between the two talented squads. Chattco, after trailing by 1 point, 14-13, had taken the lead late in the fourth quarter after driving 86 yards. Starting deep in their own territory, they got first downs thanks to a Cody Duffy to Cameron Swanson pass,
  


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Jalewis Solomon hauls in the winning touchdown catch in spite of tight coverage
by Panther Naketa Ellington. Click here for more photos.
and a determined run by Jamyran Thomas, who broke several tackles. However, they were suddenly faced with a 4th-and-9 on their own 37 with 3:44 left in the game. Rather than punt, they went for it and Quindairo Kelley made a great catch on a 26-yard pass from Duffy to keep hope alive. A couple more runs by Kelley and they were in the endzone. The two-point play failed, but they led 19-14 with 3:13 left on the clock.
   However, an excessive celebration penalty pushed the kickoff back. That allowed Schley County's Zayden Walker to catch the kick in full stride and return it all the way to the 25-yard line. The Panthers almost got out of the jam, forcing a 4th-and-1, but Wildcat Jay Kanazawa moved the chains with a quarterback sneak. A couple of plays later he found Jalewis Solomon on a 15-yard pass in which he made a nice catch and was able to stretch the ball across the goal line for the winning score. The two-point play failed, but the Wildcats led 20-19 and were able to hold onto the lead for the win.
   "Our offensive and defensive lines were key," said SCHS Head Coach Darren Alfrod. "We were able to run the ball on them more than we thought we could. Our quarterback played outstanding, too. He hung in there and took some hits when that was what it took to get the job done. Jalewis Solomon made a couple of plays better than I've seen a player make in a long time. … Defensively, we only gave up one touchdown to their offense and that was huge."
   Chattco Head Coach Pierre Coffey tipped his cap to the Wildcats, noting that when two really good teams play, it often comes down to who makes fewer mistakes.
   "It was a hard, physical, down to the wire game," said Coffey. "Our guys played extremely hard, especially on defense. I was very pleased with our defense. We tackled well and caused turnovers."
   The Panther's top defensive standout was linebacker Trenton Hodges, who returned two fumbles for long touchdowns, in addition to having 7 tackles.
   Other top Chattco defenders were Jakedrian Wright, who had 13 tackles (3 for losses) and Leonta Bell, who had 10 tackles, including 1 for a loss, and broke up a pass. Naketa Ellington had an interception.
   As good as the Panthers' defense was, it wasn't enough to stop the Wildcats from scoring enough points to win last Friday. Sophomore quarterback Jay Kanazawa had another outstanding game, completing 15-of-27 passes for 222 yards and 2 TDs with 1 interception.
   Jalewis Solomon had 7 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, while Clinton Jackson caught 4 passes for 74 yards. Other receivers were Zayden Walker (2 for 11 yards), Luke Forehand (1 for 17 yard, TD), and Sam Forehand (1 for 23).
   The Cats also racked up 133 yards on the ground, with freshman Zayden Walker (97 yards and a TD on 22 carries) leading the way. Sidney Blackwell added 29 yards on 7 runs, while Malachi Banks had 15 yards on 4 carries.
   Javier Lopez was 2-for-2 kicking extra points.
   Schley's leading tackler was sophomore defensive back Carson Westbrook (11). Other top defenders included Sidney Blackwell (9 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), Luke Forehand (7 tackles), Zayden Walker (5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble caused), and Quentin Edwards (5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery). Trenton Stubbs recovered a fumble and Jalewis Solomon had an interception.
   Chattco's offense was led by quarterback Cody Duffy, who completed 12-of-26 passes for 177 yards and 1 interception.
   The Panthers' leading rusher was Jamyran Thomas, who picked up 94 yards and scored a TD on only 9 carries.
   Chattco had drawn first blood in the contest when a first quarter hit by Regis Bellamy caused the ball to pop loose and Trenton Hodges caught it to race 73-yards for a touchdown. Mark Flores kicked the extra point and Chattco led 7-0.
   Later in the quarter, Schley drove 95 yards to tie the game. The drive included key runs by Zayden Walker and Sidney Blackwell, as well as a pass from Kanazawa to Clinton Jackson. It ended with a 17-yard TD pass from Kanazawa to Luke Forehand. Javier Lopez's kick made it 7-7, which was the score at halftime.
   Late in the first half, both teams ended drives with sacks. Wildcats Malachi banks and Reggie Hinton sacked the QB on a 4th down play, while Chattco's Manquel Devorce had a sack as well.
   With 8:37 left in the third quarter, Trenton Hodges came up huge for the Panthers again; this time causing a fumble that he recovered and raced 72-yards for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but Chattco led 13-7.
   Schley responded right away with a 68-yard scoring drive. Passes to Clinton Jackson and Sam Forehand helped set up a 3-yard TD run by Zayden Walker. Lopez kicked the PAT and the Cats led 14-13.
NEXT
   Schley County (7-1 and ranked No. 5) will face its second Top 10 opponent in a row this Friday, October 29 when they hit the road to play No. 10 ranked Manchester (4-3).
   "They're big and have some really good athletes," said Coach Alford. "They're a lot better than their record. They played Chattco very tough (in a 20-10 loss) and they also stayed with Macon County until late in the game. Our offensive and defensive lines need to have another good game and our defense needs to play our keys and get us off the field on third down."
   Chattahoochee County (7-1 and ranked No. 7) will host Greenville (5-3) this Friday, October 29.
   "Last year they played us tough," said Coach Coffey. "They'll come ready to play. We have to prepare and then execute on Friday night."