The Wildcats almost overcame the loss of star defensive end CeCe Jefferson and sloppy first half play, but their second-half surge fell just short September 12 as they lost to Providence 28-27.
Jefferson dislocated his shoulder on the fourth play of the game trying to tackle Providence's workhorse running back Jamauri Wakefield, who rushed for more than 350 yards and three touchdowns on more than 40 carries of the night. Wakefield accounted for almost all of the Stallions' offense as Baker County's depleted defense had a tough time slowing him down. Coach Tom MacPherson said Jefferson is expected to miss a few weeks, but he returned to the sideline in the second half to cheer his team on.
The Cats almost rallied back after falling behind 28-14 early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jacob Carter hit a 50-yard bomb to Zach Rafuse to pull the team within a touchdown. Vyshawn Akins intercepted one of Providence's few pass attempts on the night and returned it for a touchdown to bring the Cats withing one with about seven minutes remaining, but the extra point failed.
The offense had a chance to take the lead late and faced a third-and-6 from Providence's 20-yard line. The Cats took unsuccessful shots to the end zone on both third and fourth downs to give the ball back to the Stallions.
Providence was able to run the final 3 minutes, 58 seconds out to seal the win.
The Cats will try to bounce back from the close loss and move back to .500 on the season September 19 when they travel to Ribault for the District 3-5A opener.
Check next week's edition of The Baker County Press for a full report of the game.