The Calhoun City Wildcats committed too many errors and West Bolivar's Jovious Wade had an amazing second half orchestrating the Wildcat formation to lead his Eagles to a 32-14 win in the MHSAA 2A North football championship on Friday night.
"In the end, it was turnovers, and you can't do that in a big game like this," said Calhoun City coach Perry Liles, whose squad lost possession on three interceptions, a fumble and two failed fourth-down attempts. "That was the difference in the game."
The Wildcats (13-2) trailed 12-7 at halftime, but went ahead to start the second half when Tavion Primer returned the opening kick 80 yards. Turnovers and big plays by Wade turned the tide.
Wade played wide receiver for most of the first three quarters, then took snaps out of the Wildcat formation beginning late in the third. He scored all three second-half TDs for the Panthers (14-1).
Wade's 5-yard run with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter gave the team from Rosedale an 18-14 lead.
After Calhoun City fumbled the ball away at its 48 with 4:28 remaining in the match, Wade ran five times and finished with a 1-yarder with 2:13 left.
"We were getting down and struggling, and big players make big plays, so I had to come out here and make something happen," said Wade, who finished with 12 carries for 147 yards.
He tacked on a 67-yard run after Tae Lawrence's long pass was picked off with just under two minutes left.
West Bolivar coach Henry Johnson, whose squad earlier won the Division 4-2A title, said he has used the Wildcat formation to help them in a pinch.
"We save that for hard times," Johnson said. "When we get in a hard time, we get in the Wildcat, and Wade always seems to pull us through."
West Bolivar's Shaquon Conway returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. Calhoun City's Cartin McBride had a 47-yard scoring run with 5:54 in the second to pull within 12-7.
"We were fighting to battle back, but at the end, we had too many mistakes that cost us the game," said Calhoun City running back Lavarious Varnado. "In a big game like this, you can't have too many mistakes."
Click here for photos from the game by C. Todd Sherman.