DeSoto rallies in second half to upend WCCA 

Published 11:13 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

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WEST HELENA, Ark. — Wilkinson County Christian Academy took a 16-point lead on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, but could not hold on to it as the Rams lost to the DeSoto School Thunderbirds 44-38 Friday night in the MAIS (8-Man) Class 1A Semifinals.

Roderick Bailey scored his third rushing touchdown, and fourth overall, on a 65-yard run with 9:46 remaining in the third quarter. Andrew Sessions’ two-point conversion run gave WCCA a 38-22 lead at that point.

Unfortunately, that would be the last time the No. 4 seed Rams would see the end zone not only for the game, but for the season.

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DeSoto senior running back Nash Von Kanel scored on a 22-yard run and his two-point conversion pass to Hunter Brown made it a 38-30 game with 4:32 left in the third quarter.

Then senior quarterback Gibson Pillow took over in the fourth quarter. Pillow scored on a three-yard run at the 8:29 mark and Kanel ran in for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 38-all. Pillow gave the Thunderbirds the lead for good at 44-38 on a six-yard run with 5:45 left.

Even though WCCA won the turnover battle and had 388 total yards of offense to just 238 for No. 1 seed DeSoto School, the Rams’ offense bogged down for much of the second half and that allowed the Thunderbirds to rally for the win.

Sessions completed 10 of 15 passes for 214 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions as well as 28 yards rushing on 10 carries. Bailey had 10 carries for 126 yards and three TDs to go with a four-yard touchdown reception with 10 seconds left in the first half that gave the Rams a 30-22 halftime lead. Ryan Fisher had three catches for 77 yards to go with eight carries for 30 yards. Nathan Mudd had three catches for 30 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, Fisher had 12 tackles and Reggie Mattire had eight tackles. Sessons and Hayden Oliveaux had six tackles apiece. Mudd had a fumble recovery and Bailey had one interception.

District 3-1A runner-up WCCA finished the season with an overall record of 9-3.