GUNTERSVILLE — Guntersville made Etowah earn its tough 26-21 Class 5A, Region 7 win at Chorba-Lee Stadium on Friday night.

Etowah built its lead to 20-0 with just over three minutes left in the third quarter. But roles quickly changed as the Blue Devils suddenly couldn’t move the ball offensively and Guntersville came up with big plays.

Quarterback Jake Wisner found Kye Capolupo late in the third quarter for Guntersville’s first score to trim its deficit to 20-7 after the extra point.

The Wildcats’ defense then forced a three-and-out on Etowah’s next two drives and followed each with a touchdown to take the lead.

The go-ahead score came on a short pass from Wisner to CJ Williamson. The senior wide receiver evaded a couple of Blue Devil defenders before taking it 66 yards for the score. The extra point gave Guntersville the 21-20 lead with 5:50 left in the game.

After both defenses forced turnovers on downs, Etowah had one last shot and sophomore quarterback Derickey Wright came up big.

Wright had runs of 18 and 45 yards before capping the game-winning drive with a 1-yard score to put the Blue Devils up for good with 2:03 remaining. Guntersville gave Etowah 15 big yards with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty before Wright’s 45-yard run.

The defense held and Etowah ran the clock out.

 

Star of the Night

Etowah’s defensive line caused havoc for Guntersville all night. Jessie Altman, who transferred to Etowah from Guntersville, was a big factor in the Blue Devils’ first score. The Wildcats had the ball deep in Etowah territory, but Altman took the ball from the Wildcat running back to force a turnover. Etowah scored its first touchdown three plays later with under two minutes left before halftime. Jamin Graham recovered a fumble and recorded a sack. Guntersville totaled -13 yards rushing as Altman and Graham, along with Trey Cole, Alex Howard and David Rutledge, were constantly in the backfield.

 

By the Numbers

3.5 — Average margin of victory between Etowah and Guntersville in the past four meetings. ... 20 — The amount of yards Guntersville had at the half, but the Wildcats ended up with 208 yards. ... 155 — The Blue Devils totaled 302 yards on offense, but 155 of those came on three plays (Wright’s screen pass to Austin Young for 75 yards for Etowah’s first touchdown, Wright’s run for 45 yards and Caleb Horton’s run for 35 yards)

 

Play of the Game

After Wright scampered for 18 yards and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Guntersville defense tacked on an extra 15 yards, Wright broke free for a 45-yard run on the next play to get close to the goal line. He scored one play later to put Etowah back on top.

 

They Said It

“We work hard at practice. Coach (Jamison) Wadley makes us do all the stuff we need to do at practice to win.” — Altman

“We had no doubt we were going to be able to come back and beat them. We kept pushing and it says a lot about us.” — Horton

 

Coachspeak

“We were up 20-0 and I never felt good about it. I’ve seen Guntersville play all my life, so I knew they were going to battle back. Any time you can win down here, it’s good.” – Etowah coach Drew Noles

 

Stat Sheet

Wright was 2 of 5 for 85 yards for Etowah. He added 67 yards on the ground along with his game winning score. ... Horton totaled 81 yards on nine carries. The senior scored on a 14-yard run. ... Cory Thomas finished with 58 yards on 17 rushes and added a 9-yard scoring run. ... Austin Young caught a screen pass from Wright and took it 75 yards to the end zone. ... Guntersville’s Wisner was 12 of 29 passing for 211 yards with three touchdowns. He had 16 yards passing at the half. Many of his incompletions came on drops. ... Williamson hauled in eight receptions for 173 yards along with a touchdown.

 

Up Next

Etowah (3-1) heads back to Jim Glover Field for a region showdown against 5A, No. 3 Alexandria next week. The Valley Cubs eased past Boaz 42-13 Friday.

Guntersville (2-1) travels to Scottsboro next week to continue region play.