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Wenonah 27 – Pleasant Grove 7

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Anthony Hudson returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown and Xavier Stewart returned an interception 26 yards for a score as Wenonah (4-2, 3-1) pulled away in the second half for a 27-7 victory over Pleasant Grove (2-4, 2-2) in Class 5A, Region 5 action Thursday.

Deadlocked at 7-all at the half, Carlos Rogers came off the bench and led the Dragons on a 71-yard, 10-play drive, throwing a fourth-down, 2-yard touchdown pass to Telvin Miller with 5:01 to go in the third quarter.

Stewart’s interception return for a touchdown gave Wenonah a quick 7-0 lead, but Pleasant Grove answered with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Jackson to Timothy Coats.

Half of the stadium lights went out with 1:28 remaining in the quarter, but play continued despite the less than ideal playing conditions.

Key sequence: Game officials apparently got mixed up with the Spartans facing third-and-13 from their own 32 with just over 7 minutes to go and said it was fourth down. Hudson hesitated before fielding the punt, then raced down the left sideline 71 yards to give Wenonah a 21-7 lead.

JaDarius Redwine intercepted Pleasant Grove four plays later and returned it 51 yards to the Spartans 30. After a penalty, Miller went untouched up the middle for the 25-yard touchdown.

— Star of the game: Davis took over the quarterback reins in the second half after Myles Hackett was only 3-of-15 for 42 yards in the first half, and threw for 107 yards in the second half and a touchdown.

— Stat sheet: 5, the two teams managed a combined 5 first downs in the first half. … 1, Wenonah was held to minus one yards rushing in the first half and finished with only 38 yards on 27 attempts. … 186, Pleasant Grove finished with 186 total yards, including only 52 on the ground on 30 attempts. … 187, Wenonah managed only one more yard of total offense than Pleasant Grove.

— By The Numbers: 7, Wenonah owns a 7-5 advantage in the 12-game series with two straight wins over the Spartans. … 28, Ronald Cheatham is in his 28th season as Wenonah’s head coach, owning a 152-128 record. … 248, Pleasant Grove is two victories short of 250 wins in program history. … 7, Pleasant Grove has scored seven points or less in three of its fourth losses.

— Coachspeak: “Our kids really played hard in the second half. We didn’t get a lot accomplished offensively. We made an adjustment at quarterback to start the second half and I thought that really gave us a spark. It was a hard-earned victory. I thought we mixed it up a lot better in the second half.” — Cheatham

— They Said It …: “I needed to make something happen for my team. Our offense was sputtering a little bit. I kind of hesitated before I picked up the ball, but once I got around the corner I knew nobody was going to catch me. We really needed something like that to happen.” – Hudson.

“Coach had told me to watch that play during practice all week. I don’t think the quarterback even saw me. He threw it right to me. I knew it was going to be a touchdown. The defense didn’t play great, but we turned it up in the second half.” – Stewart.

“I was really motivated. We had a couple of injuries and coach put me in there and I knew I had to make something happen. Like I said, I was motivated to get us a victory.”  – Rogers.

— Next week:  Pleasant Grove plays host to Shelby County, while Wenonah travels to Moody next Friday.

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