DALEVILLE – Huge plays on both sides of the ball helped Daleville pull away from Wicksburg on Friday night.
The Warhawks’ Jalen White, who scored four touchdowns in the first half, somehow saved his best for last. With a commanding lead cut down to single digits by a desperate Wicksburg comeback, White exploded on a 94-yard touchdown run with 3:32 remaining that helped seal a 58-41 victory.
White scored on TD runs of 67, 13, 2 in the first half. He also returned a fumble 70 yards for another score.
In the second half, he had an 85-yard touchdown run that gave the Warhawks a 50-22 lead late in the third quarter.
But Wicksburg cut it to 50-41 when sophomore quarterback Jackson Glover got hot and Walt Sinclair picked up big yards on the ground and in the passing game.
With less than four minutes remaining, Daleville was up nine points and facing a third-and-23 from its own 6. White took a pitch to the left side, saw a crease and raced up the sideline to the end zone.
He finished with six touchdowns and, unofficially, five rushing touchdowns and 309 rushing yards on 17 carries through his 94-yard game clincher. White also stopped two Wicksburg drives – one with a fourth-down pass breakup in the end zone and another with an interception. His six scoring plays alone covered 331 yards.
The Panthers struck first, marching 65 yards in seven plays with the opening kickoff. Glover hit LaPatrick Murry on a 15-yard slant pass for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked.
Daleville also scored on its opening possession. White took a pitch to the right side and outraced the Panthers to the end zone on a 67-yard run. Sincere McKenzie scored on the 2-point run to make it 8-6 with 7:31 left in the first quarter.
Wicksburg answered with another long touchdown drive. The Panthers went 75 yards in eight plays. Glover converted on third-and-3 with a 7-yard keeper, then hit Murry for a 26-yard gain to the Daleville 11. Two plays later, Walt Sinclair scored on a 3-yard run. Sinclair added the conversion run that put the Panthers up 14-8 with 3:57 left in the first.
Wicksburg’s defense stopped Daleville on downs inside their 30. But two plays later, Glover was sacked and fumbled and Melvin Mathews recovered on the Wicksburg 13.
White covered the distance on the next play and scored the conversion for a 16-14 Daleville lead with 20 seconds left in the first.
The Panthers came back and drove into Daleville territory again. But a short Glover pass to the right side was well covered and the ball came free. While the Panthers hoped for an incomplete pass, the ruling was a fumble and Daleville’s Kawon Taylor alertly picked it up and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown and a 22-14 lead.
Unfortunately, on the ensuing kickoff Taylor appeared to suffer a serious knee or leg injury. The ambulance crew drove onto the field and he was taken to the hospital.
After a Wicksburg punt on that possession, Daleville came back with another TD drive. White scored on a 2-yard run and McKenzie ran in the conversion for a 30-14 Daleville lead.
Less than a minute later, Wicksburg fumbled, again inside Daleville territory, and White picked it up and returned it 70 yards for the touchdown and a 36-14 lead with 4:19 left in the first half.
That score stood through halftime, but not long after that. On Daleville’s second play from scrimmage of the third quarter, quarterback Robert Dees faked to White and fired to a wide-open Mathews for 51 yards and the touchdown. A two-point play made it 44-14 just 1:02 into the second half.
A fine kickoff return, one of several for the Panthers, set up a short touchdown drive. Sinclair scored on an 8-yard run to cap a 37-yard drive. His 2-point run cut the lead to 44-22.
Wicksburg got back in the game. Artavious Shipman scored on a 4-yard run, Clay Morrison caught a 27-yard TD pass from Glover and Sinclair took a screen pass 36 yards for a score that made it 50-41 with 5:18 remaining.