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Watson Chapel starts well in loss to Mills

by Tanner Spearman | September 16, 2023 at 3:47 a.m.
McErvin Bagby of Watson Chapel carries the ball with lead blocking against Mills on Friday at Wildcat Stadium. (Special to The Commercial/William Harvey)

Throughout the first half Friday night, Watson Chapel went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the 5A-Central Conference.

The Wildcats lost their home opener 35-0 to Mills University Studies, but it didn't look like that would the be the final score at halftime. Mills (4-0, 2-0 in 5A-Central) led 7-0 at halftime, but it took a lot of work just to get that one touchdown.

Watson Chapel (0-4, 0-2) outplayed the Comets for the first few drives.

Wildcats coach Maurice Moody said his team competed well in the first half but missed some tackles in the second.

"I thought we controlled the game first half," Moody said. "Had opportunities; we just didn't finish the drives inside the red zone."

Watson Chapel got the ball to start the game and drove into the red zone before Mills defensive back Chauncey Haynes made an impressive, one-handed interception on fourth down.

The Wildcats again reached the red zone on their second drive. Malachi Rayford ran the ball into the end zone, but a holding call denied Watson Chapel the lead. Mills eventually got a fourth down stop.

The Wildcats ran 22 plays on their first two drives, though the Mills defense tightened up for the rest of the game.

The Watson Chapel defense also impressed in the first half against a strong Mills offense. The Comets went three and out on their first possession and had to punt after four plays on their second.

Former Wildcat Akyell Madison gave Mills the lead in the second quarter when he caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Achilles Ringo on the Comets' third drive. Mills got deep into Wildcat territory on its next drive, but the Wildcats got a fourth down stop on their own 19-yard line to keep the Mills lead at 7-0 at halftime.

The first half defense for Watson Chapel didn't carry over into the second. Ringo hit Kamarrion Ferguson for a 47-yard touchdown on the first play of the half, part of a 28-point third quarter for the Comets. University of Arkansas commit Charleston Collins blocked a Watson Chapel punt, and Skyla White recovered a Wildcat fumble. Both plays gave Mills short fields to help pad its lead.

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter with a running clock, though the Wildcats again got into the red zone.

The Wildcats outrushed the Comets 98-18. McErvin Bagby led Watson Chapel with 48 yards, and Omarrion Hunter rushed for 43. Malachi Rayford completed 5 of 9 passes for 59 yards, each completion to a different receiver.

For Mills, Ringo completed 10 of 23 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Dylan Parks caught three passes for 93 yards and a touchdown, while Javion Love caught two passes for 55 yards and a score.

Print Headline: WC starts well in loss to Mills


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