By Bob Jones
Special to the Daily
The prize was victory No. 1 for the 2010 season, and a 1-1 record in Regin 4-AAA play for the victor.
The Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles and the Locust Grove Wildcats battled each other and the rain and lightning storm which delayed the game for one hour during the first quarter and also battled their own mistakes.
And it was the Locust Grove Wildcats (1-3, 1-1 in 4-AAA) who finally emerged victorious with the school's first-ever regional win, a 30-14 over the Golden Eagles (0-4, 0-2).
Although no one asked for a demonstration, it seemed as if the teams were showing why they each had failed to achieve that first victory of the season. Both teams suffered 10 penalties, lost two fumbles and had trouble with their punting game.
However, it was Locust Grove who managed to overcome its mistakes better than did Eagle's Landing.
The game opened with Eagle's Landing losing nine yards on three plays and lining up to punt. The punt snap sailed over Tyler Teknipp's head into the end zone, and Teknipp alertly kicked the ball over the back line for a Locust Grove safety. The Wildcats took the kickoff in for six on a Slater Eckert-to-Mickey Wise 16-yard touchdown pass for a 9-0 Locust Grove when the referees waved the teams off the field for the lightning storm.
The Golden Eagles came out of the one-hour rain delay with energy and A.J. Hardy ran through holes in the Wildcat defense. Teknipp then bolted in from 19 yards out on a quarterback keeper and the score read 9-6 after a blocked extra-point attempt.
The Wildcats then overcame a mistake in their punting game. After a negative four-yard punt by Hunter Mitcham, the defense stopped Eagle's Landing. A long Wildcat drive resulted in a 1-yard TD dive by Eckert and the score was 15-6 at intermission.
Locust Grove's Shane Holmes took the short second half kickoff 22 yards to the Eagles 40, and Donterrius Johnson scampered 28 yards for six. Teknipp tossed a two-point conversion pass to Jarion Ponder and it was 23-6. Locust Grove penalties boosted the Eagles deep into Locust Grove territory and, on his third dive of the series, Teknipp dove over for the second Eagles touchdown of the night.
Locust Grove lost a fumble on its first play of the ensuing drive, but Eagle's Landing allowed a sack and committed two penalties, stopping its hopes to make a game of it.
Backup quarterback Keenan Wise scored the clincher on a 30-yard run late in the fourth quarter. An interception by Wildcat Dusty McCulley ended the flickering hopes of another touchdown for the Golden Eagles in the final minute.
Hardy was a workhorse for the Golden Eagles, carrying 18 times for 108 yards. Eagle's Landing was guilty of 10 penalties for 86 yards, and allowed five sacks. Shawayne Lawrence led the Golden Eagles defense with eight tackles.
Locust Grove had a balanced rushing attack, with Wise (5 carries for 66 yards), Johnson (8 for 65), Eckert (9 for 36), and Tyler Rapes (11 for 45) contributing. Brandon Johnson, Cortez McDowell, and Donavon George each had five tackles for the Wildcat defense. The Wildcats committed 10 penalties for 110 yards.