Playoff caliber win: Cayuga outlasts Alto in overtime
BETHEL - Friday night was the kind of game that may help propel the Cayuga Wildcats deep into the playoffs.
In a battle of top 10 Class A teams, Cayuga defeated Alto 43-36 in a thrilling overtime game at Yellowjacket Stadium.
"It was a tremendous high school football game," Cayuga head coach Tommy Allison said Saturday afternoon. "I am real proud of the way our kids fought the whole game."
The win gives Cayuga (5-0, 7-1) the inside track for the District 20-A title. The Wildcats have one more game left against Grapeland while Alto (5-1, 8-2) is done for the regular season, having a bye next week.
With Cayuga getting ready for the playoffs in two weeks, Friday night's game gave the Wildcats a sneak peak of postseason play.
"It was a great environment, very similar to what the playoffs are going to be like," Allison said. "This was big for us as we prepare for the start of the playoffs."
Friday night's game - an overtime battle against one of the top teams in the state - should only help Cayuga down the road.
"This was a big win in a sense that we have not been in this situation before," Allison said.
The game was a back-and-forth battle with the biggest lead coming in the first half as Cayuga led 21-7. But Alto tied the game at halftime and both teams each scored once in the third quarter.
Cayuga took a 36-28 lead in the fourth quarter when the Wildcats marched down the field for a five-minute drive finished off by quarterback Malcome Kennedy's 4-yard run.
"A lot of credit has to go to our offensive line," Allison said. "On that last drive, the offensive line took it upon themselves to get us down the field."
With 55 seconds left, Alto went the length of the field to tie the game with seven seconds left and forcing overtime.
Even though Cayuga gave up the late touchdown, the Wildcats responded in the first overtime session with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Kennedy to Billy Duncan.
"When Alto went down and scored at the end of the game, a lot of teams would have just shut it down," Allison said. "But our kids never quit. We had to regroup in overtime and found a way to win."
Alto started its overtime sessions with two penalties and on fourth and 11, Traylon Shead intercepted a pass to end the game.
"Alto has a tremendous quarterback who we had to work hard on trying to contain," Allison said. "In overtime, we were able to get them in a long down and Traylon stepped in front of the pass for the interception.
"It was a great way to finish the game."
Kennedy did it all for the Cayuga offense. The quarterback threw four touchdown passes - two to Duncan and two to Shead - rushed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass.
"Malcome is such a tremendous athlete and Friday night he did whatever he had to, to help us win the game," Allison said. "He is very selfless and just wants the team to have success."
Scott Tyler, Palestine Herald, Sports Editor