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RALEIGH — On fourth down and 10 on Millbrook’s 11-yard line with three seconds left in the game, Wakefield quarterback Trexler Ivey threw a short pass over the middle to wide receiver Rashaun Jones, who carried a couple of Millbrook defenders with him into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Wakefield rallied to beat Millbrook 22-20 at home last Friday night.
The Wolverines trailed the entire game until the final play of the night. Penalties kept Wakefield from driving down the field for most of the game. However, the Wolverines hung in there and kept fighting until they came away victorious at the end.
Wakefield head coach James Ward celebrated the victory with his players afterward. This was his first win as the head coach for the team.
“There’s a lot of pressure off for getting my first win here,” Ward said. “I’ve only gotten three hours of sleep the past few nights preparing for this game. We’ve been working hard on the field. I don’t know how we win, but we just needed to get a win. We’re supposed to win and have that kind of attitude.”
Millbrook opened the game with a four-yard rushing touchdown midway in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Wildcats punched in another short run for a touchdown.
Wakefield didn’t score until there were 22 seconds left in the first half. Ivey threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Walter Page. That cut the deficit to 14-7 at halftime.
“I just told the guys to stay patient,” Ward said. “I was panicking at halftime. My assistant coaches told me to slow things down a bit. Millbrook was tough running the ball, but we managed to get the ball back when we need to.”
In the third quarter, Millbrook scored another short rushing touchdown, extending their advantage to 20-7 after a failed extra-point attempt. Five minutes later, Wakefield’s Jacob Morton converted a 28-yard field goal to make the score 20-10.
In the fourth quarter, momentum started to shift to Wakefield’s side and the home crowd felt it. The Wolverines were stout on defense and that gave their offense another chance to get back into the game.
With less than five minutes left in the game, Ivey ran on a scramble for a three-yard touchdown to make it a one-possession game at 20-16.
“I kept telling everyone to stay in it and we’ll win this game,” Ivey said. “I told the guys to keep their heads up. If they do that, everything will fall in place at the end.”
Wakefield’s defense came up big again and halted Millbrook’s running game to get the ball back at their own 17-yard line with 1:21 left in the game.
The Wolverines drove the ball down the field through their passing game. One of the biggest plays of the drive was a catch by Juwan Bunch that took Wakefield all the way down to the 11-yard line. Bunch said the 37-6 loss to Leesville Road in the first game of the season was a wake-up call for him and his teammates.
“There was no doubt we had to win,” Bunch said. “We locked in tonight. We knew after our loss to Leesville we had to come out strong tonight.”
Wakefield went three straight plays where it ended in incompletions. The ball was either overthrown, swatted down by Millbrook defenders or dropped. The game came down to fourth-and-10 with just three seconds left on the clock.
Ivey found Jones in the middle just a couple of yards short of the goal line. Jones powered his way through two Millbrook defenders, stretched his arm out and made it to the other side of the goal line for the game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. The Wakefield fans stormed the field and the stadium erupted with cheers and excitement.
“Our team stayed together through it all,” Jones said. “We’ve come a long way. We’re ready for whoever is next.”
Ward said the game-winning play was actually the same exact one they ran three plays earlier, but it didn’t work. He gave his players one more chance to execute the play and they did it perfectly.
“We called that same play on first down, but everyone ran the wrong routes,” Ward said. “We tried it again and it was there. The middle of the field was open.”
Ivey talked about the big play and how Jones was able to get open at the right time for him to make the game-winning throw for a touchdown and convert on a crucial fourth down.
“We drew up the play for Rashaun and I told him to run under Juwan,” Ivey said. “He caught the ball and fought for those extra few yards.”
Jones finished the game with four catches for 45 yards and the touchdown that gave his team the win. The senior said this type of win will boost the confidence for him and his teammates.
“There’s no more playing around with us,” Jones said. “We know that if we stick together, we can get it done. We have to keep our head up through it all.”
Last year, Wakefield beat Millbrook 31-9 on the road. This year’s win keeps the Wildcats winless at 0-2 after they lost to Corinth Holders 20-7 last week. Ward said Millbrook’s running game and the constant penalties kept his team at bay in the first three quarters.
“We just had to take what Millbrook gave us,” Ward said. “That’s exactly what we did tonight. The guys made plays catching the ball. If the receivers are open, we’re going to take those chances.”
The combination of Ivey and Juwan Bunch torched the Millbrook defense all night. The senior quarterback finished the night with 20 completions out of 32 attempts for 355 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Bunch went off for 10 receptions totaling 232 yards.
“Every game is going to be tough from here on out,” Ward said. “We’ve missed a lot of guys with injuries. If we get healthy, we’ll be good. We’re going to rest up and get ready to get back to work.”
The Wolverines will take on Apex Friendship on the road tonight at 7 p.m.