WINDER -- After come-from-behind wins in their previous two games the Apalachee Wildcats (4-4) rode the momentum of a second half surge to defeat the Salem Seminoles (2-6) on Friday by the final score of 20-0.
"I was a little disappointed the way we started out tonight" said Wildcat head coach Shane Davis. "We moved the ball real well the first half and were able to overcome some penalties until we got to the goal line. We told the kids at halftime that if we just came out and continue to do the things we were doing that it would turn around."
Each team moved the football well in the first half, however, mistakes and penalties resulted in a scoreless half. Both teams drove deep in their opponent's territory only to miss on short field goal attempts.
Quarterback Clint Ashe served as the catalyst in the Wildcat second half surge. "We came out the second half and really kicked it in after a few mess-ups at the goal line in the first half" said Ashe. "Our line did a great job of picking up the blitzes in the second half."
Apalachee came out rejuvenated to open the second half. After taking over on downs the Wildcats scored quickly on a two play drive as Ashe hit Monterian Smith on a 39 yard scoring strike. Zay Henry also contributed with a 27 yard run. Following a missed extra point attempt Apalachee led 6-0 with 8:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Following a three-and-out series by the defense, the Wildcats scored again on a 1-yard run by Devonte Vinson. The scoring drive was spearheaded by a 26-yard pass from Ashe to Jermaine Smith. Apalachee failed on a two point conversion leaving the score 12-0 at the 3:44 mark of the third quarter.
Apalachee opened the scoring in the fourth quarter as Ashe scored on a two-yard run. Smith highlighted the six-play scoring drive with a 36-yard catch to the Seminole two-yard line. The two-point conversion was successful this time and the Wildcats lead increased to 20-0 with 11:54 remaining in the game.
Coach Davis said "Our kids have finally gotten themselves back to the point where we expect to win. There is a big difference between hoping to win and expecting to win. I believe that last week for the first time this year we found the attitude of expecting to win."
"We are back in the playoff chase and at this time of the year you can't really ask for more than that. We all want a chance to control our own destiny. Our goal now is to find a way to win a couple more games and somehow find a way to get into the playoffs" said Davis.
Ashe finished the game 5 of 7 passing for 125 yards with one touchdown. He also contributed with a rushing score as well. Devonte Vinson led all rushers for Apalachee with 143 yards on 16 carries.