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It was an offensive explosion Friday night at Midway when the Green Wave outlasted the Whitwell Tigers in taking a 53-50 win.
It was also a night of firsts for the Green Wave. Third year head coach Joe Campbell guided Midway a 2-0 start for the first time under his watch. It was also Midway’s first win over the Tigers after dropping games the previous two seasons.
More firsts were the more than 800 yards in total offense by both teams and the 103 points they scored. Midway had 495 yards of total offense alone while Whitwell tacked on 360 yards of offense.
Both teams scored three times in the opening quarter. Attrition from the heat and humidity would leave both teams with a ton of cramps by halftime, as almost every player on both teams would be affected in some way.
Midway scored on the third play after the kickoff as QB Shandon Lyle hit Zach Qualls on a short route that Qualls turned into an 87-yard touchdown.
Caleb Splawn hit the point after to give Midway a quick 7-0 lead.
Whitwell responded with a four-play drive with Cody Ingrassia scoring from 20 yards out.
The Tigers’ two-point attempt failed to leave Midway up 7-6 with only 3:15 ran off the clock.
Qualls scored again from 21 yards away to end a seven play-drive. Lyle had runs of 12 and 10 yards in the possession.
Splawn's extra point kicking and filed goal kicking would come up big for the Green Wave later in the game. He hit his second PAT to put the Green Wave up 14-6 with 5:44 left in the first quarter.
Whitwell scored a minute later and would knot the game at 14. Ingrassia scored on a 45-yard run to cap a three-play drive. Cody McHone ran in the conversion to tie the game at 14.
The tie would be broken when Austin Longmire scored from four yards out on Midway’s next possession. Longmire also had runs of 10, 18 and seven in what was an eight-play scoring drive.
Splawn hit the point after to put Midway up 21-14.
Whitwell stayed close, but would not tie the game or lead the rest of the night.
The Tigers scored to end the quarter on a three-yard run from QB Tyler Tate. A 41-yard halfback pass from Ingrassia to Caleb Anderson set up the score.
The Tigers went for two and failed to leave Midway up 21-20.
Midway scored at the eight-minute mark of the second quarter on a two-yard run from Lyle. Lyle had a 15-yard run and Longmire had a 12-yard sprint in the 10-play drive.
The extra point was mishandled and Splawn never had a chance to kick, leaving Midway up 27-20.
Then the big turning point came for the Green Wave. Lyle stepped in front of a Tate pass and returned it 45 yards for the score. After a Whitwell penalty on the extra point edged the ball closer, Lyle squirted in for the two-point conversion and a 35-20 lead with 6:56 left till halftime.
Whitwell roared back with Cody McHone scoring from 51 yards out at the 5:55 mark. Dusty McHone tacked on the two-point conversion after a penalty to close within seven at 35-28.
The fireworks continued as 2:20 later, the Green Wave scored again. Longmire scored from 30 yards out to end a seven-play drive.
Splawn added the point after for a 42-28 lead.
That’s how the scoring stayed until halftime. Lyle did pick off another pass for Midway, but he would be intercepted by Tate to end any threat of scoring.
Whitwell received the second half kick and scored in three plays. Cody McHone scored from the 14, and Ingrassia added the two-pointer to trim the lead to 42-36.
Two 15-yard penalties against Midway helped set up the Tiger touchdown.
Midway pushed down field after the kickoff and eventually reached the Whitwell one. Back-to-back five yard penalties moved the ball back to the 11, and that set up what was possibly the score of the game came when Splawn jogged on and nailed a 28-yard field goal to put the Green Wave up 45-36.
Lyle hit Christian Moore for a 42-yard gain in the drive. Lyle also had a 19-yard run.
McHone scored from 20 yards out to trim the lead to 45-42 with 5:27 left in third quarter, but the Tigers failed on the two-point try.
Midway scored their final touchdown of the night a little more than three minutes later. Lyle scored from four yards out for the score, and he added the two-point run after another Whitwell penalty on the PAT attempt.
Jake Woody had a huge 36-yard pick up on a pass from Lyle in the five-play drive.
With Midway up 53-42, Whitwell had just enough left in the tank to score in the fourth quarter. Ingrassia scored from the six and Cody McHone added the two-point run to cut the lead to 53-50 with over seven minutes left to play.
On a night when both offenses did little wrong, the defenses started making plays down the stretch.
Lyle was picked off on the third play of the next possession by Whitwell's Jake Sartin, as the Tigers finally had a chance to regain the lead.
The Tigers pushed to the Midway 34, causing some high anxiety on the Midway side, but the Tigers coughed the ball up with Ethan Crabtree recovering for the Green Wave.
Midway milked the clock for seven plays and two first downs before Lyle took a knee and the clock ran out to end a very long and hot game.
Lyle had another solid night for the Green Wave as he passed for 185 yards and one TD while rushing for 136 yards and two scores. He also intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown.
Longmire was next in line with 84 yards rushing and two TDs while Qualls led the Green Wave with 89 yards receiving. Qualls also scored twice.
Midway will be off this week and will host Hancock County next Friday, Sept. 13.
Rushing- Lyle 24-136 with 2 TDs, Longmire 9-84 with 2 TDs, Seymour 8-43, Qualls 1-21 with 1 TD, Mason Woody 4-14.
Passing- Lyle 8-15 for 185 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs.
Receiving- Qualls 2-89 with 1 TD, J. Woody 2-31, Beason 2-13, Moore 1-42, Cody Schommer 1-10.