LAWRENCEVILLE -- Big plays and fourth-quarter drama highlighted Friday's matchup between Duluth and Archer.
The Wildcats kicked off the Tigers' first full-varsity season in heartbreaking fashion with a 21-17 win.
Facing a fourth and 18 on Duluth's 44-yard line with less than two minutes remaining, Archer had one last shot to overcome the four-point deficit.
Tigers junior quarterback Jarvis Holley dropped back looking to convert, but was sacked for a 5-yard loss as the Wildcats defense stepped up at the game's most crucial point.
"The defense sucked it up," Duluth head coach Corey Jarvis said. "That's one thing we pride ourselves on is defense. I hang my hat on it. We didn't have a great game, but they made stops when we had to get them and the last stop put us over the hump."
Duluth (1-0) junior running back Henry Enyenihi got the scoring started on the second play from scrimmage with a 67-yard touchdown run to give the Wildcats the early 7-0 lead.
"Henry's a good running back," Jarvis said. "He's got to hit the hole a little harder, but he did a great job and he's put himself in position to be a good football player for us."
Archer (0-1) would answer after a muffed punt by Duluth gave the Tigers the ball on the Wildcats 19, and senior running back Mychael Hines ran into the end zone from 3 yards out.
The Tigers grabbed their first lead of the game less than three minutes into the second quarter after a 34-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Zach Wacholz.
But a 99-yard return for a touchdown by Duluth sophomore running back Myles Campbell on the ensuing kickoff gave the Wildcats a 14-10 lead as both teams headed into the locker room for halftime.
Holley stole the show in the third quarter as he completed 7 of 9 passes for 119 yards and scored on a 24-yard dash to give the Tigers another three-point lead, 17-14. Holley finished the game 12-for-17 for 171 yards.
The Duluth win snaps an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season and according to Jarvis, gets the Wildcats season off on the right foot.
"It's huge for us," he said. "I made a statement in the paper that it wasn't a statement game, but we needed to have a statement to be honest because we need to let people know that we're trying to turn this thing around and we're trying to turn it around fast."
Anfernee Stewart had a good night throwing the ball for Duluth, completing 10 of 16 for 134 yards.