PORTLAND – The Gregory-Portland Wildcats held off a pesky Tuloso-Midway team last Friday on Homecoming night 28-20, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
The Wildcats traveled to Alice Friday night with the winner claiming a spot in the Class 5A playoffs.
G-P took the opening drive and marched to the Warriors four before a fumble brought the drive to an end, but the Wildcat defense picked up a three and out series, forcing a Warrior punt. G-P began the drive at the T-M 34. Two plays in Joe Sauceda dashes 30 yards to the T-M two and two plays later he scored. Nathan Bowden added the point after, handing the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.
G-P got the ball back after another Warrior punt and went to work. Jeremy Barker found Marcus Arroyo at the 33 for six yards and two plays later Saucedaís six-yard run gave the Wildcats a first down at the T-M 48. G-P then needed a fourth down conversion and got it when Barker connected with Arroyo for seven-yards and a first down. Two plays later it seemed like the Warriors had scored after an interception, but a penalty negated the play and the Wildcats had new life. Barker went right back to the air and hit a streaking Christian St. Romain and 27 yards later he was in the end zone. Bowden’s kick made it 14-0 Wildcats.
The Warriors responded with a 14-play, 79-yard drive, capped by a four-yard touchdown pass that got T-M within 14-7. Two plays later the Warriors picked off an errant pass and returned it to the G-P seven. T-M scored on the first play to tie the game 14-14. The series of bad luck continued on the very next play when the Warriors intercepted another G-P pass. The Warriors reached the Wildcats 16, but a huge defensive play by Hunter Harrison who sacked the quarterback forcing a fumble ended the threat sending the game into the half 14-14.
Tuloso-Midway opened the second half with a 26-yard field goal that gave them their first lead, 17-14.
The Wildcats wasted little time responding. A third down pass from Barker to Brian Harris gave G-P a first down at the 40. Barker found Conner Durrill across the middle three plays later to give the Wildcats a fresh set of downs at the Warrior 27. Consecutive runs by Sauceda moved the ball to the 11 and on the next play Barker found Harris for the 11-yard scoring strike. Bowden made it 21-17 Wildcats.
Early in the fourth quarter the Wildcats found themselves pinned at their own six, but it did not hinder them. Sauceda gained 29 yards on two carries and later followed that with a 61-yard touchdown gallop that gave the Wildcats a 28-17 lead. The Warriors added a late field goal, but it was not enough as G-P went on to win 28-20 to set up Friday nights big game at Alice.
Sauceda finished with 143 yards rushing on the night and Barker completed 12 of 16 passes for 201 yards with Harris finishing with five catches for 111 yards and two scores.
Hunter Floerke and Marcus Arroyo each had 12 tackles, Reno Barrera added nine tackles with a sack, Mason Bridgeman finished with nine tackles and Josh Delgado picked up two sacks and four tackles.