Cathedral stuns top-ranked Stringer with thrilling win
NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School (5-1) refused to lose to Stringer High School at its homecoming event with a comeback 61-55 win.
With the game tied at 55 in the fourth quarter with just under 3 minutes to play, Cathedral found itself in a tight spot after rallying back to a 55-48 lead.
A pair of pass interference calls got the Green Wave down to the 18-yard line with a minute left, and Cathedral just needed one score to put themselves ahead.
Christian Jenkins made that happen for Cathedral with a 4-yard drive to take the lead 61-55 with just 34 seconds left to win the ball game as Cathedral stunned top-ranked Stringer.
Thomas Garrity had an outstanding throwing game for the Green Wave with 441 yards and seven touchdowns, completing 35 of 65 passes.
Ishmael Blackmon and Jardarius Anderson caught most of those catches, tallying 169 and 126 yards, respectively.
The game started off rough for Cathedral as Josh Wilkererson fumbled the opening kickoff return to give Stringer the ball at the 50-yard line. After five plays and a facemask, Stringer found themselves on the five-yard line and Tevin Moore completed the touchdown pass to Zack Alridge for the early 7-0 lead.
At the 8:27 mark, Cathedral got their passing game together as Garrity completed a 25-yard pass to Anderson to tie the game at 7.
By half time, Stringer led Cathedral 21-14 with Moore scoring Stringer’s next two drives and Cathedral’s Jenkins getting a one-yard touchdown.
Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said his team usually comes out flat in the third quarter, but he told them at halftime that they must pick up their intensity if they want to pull out the win.
“I told them at half time, we’re playing the number one team in the state, and we’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” Rushing said. “Lets go out and quit making these mistakes and win this game.”
Moore rushed for 390 yards and four touchdowns, answering any scores Cathedral made in the first half.
Rushing said his players did a good job of trying to keep pressure on Moore all night, but it was evident that Moore was a natural athlete.
“He’s a great athlete,” Rushing said. “He’s as good as anybody we played. We just kept pushing and we never quit. We played with great effort and extremely hard.”
Cathedral got a momentum boost before the half when they didn’t let Stringer score another touchdown at the 10-yard line and forced Stringer to miss the field goal to leave Cathedral within two, 28-26.
Cathedral came out swinging in the third quarter scoring three touchdowns to Stringer’s one to take a 48-34 lead.
Two of which were a result of a Garrity-Anderson connection for 17 and 32 yards, respectively.
Rushing said Garrity has the ability to make plays when there aren’t any options, and with a solid receiver like Anderson, they were able to make things happen.
“A couple plays were busted, and Garrity scrambled and our guys got open,” Rushing said. “We never took our foot off the accelerator, and we kept attacking the whole game, and that’s what kind of team we are.”
Cathedral was outscored in the fourth quarter 21-13, but their third quarter performance left them tied with less than three minutes to go and Jenkins sealed the deal for the Green Wave with a 4-yard touchdown.
Cathedral played solid defense in the last 30 seconds to not allow Stringer to get past the 50-yard line.
Rushing said beating a team like Stringer gave his team the confidence they needed at the start of district play.
“Stringer has one of the best programs in single A, and for us to be able to play with them made a statement for us,” he said.
Cathedral returns to the field Friday at Lumberton High School.