It was senior night for the North Paulding Wolfpack as they took on the visiting Allatoona Buccaneers for the first time since 2009. The series tied 2-2, this was the fifth meeting between the teams. Not only was "the County Line Bucket" on the line Friday night, this game carried possible Region 5-AAAAA implications.
For the past three weeks, the Bucs had been slow to start offensively.
That was not the case Friday night.
Allatoona took the opening kick to start the game and quickly moved down the field on three straight pass plays from scrimmage, finally scoring on a run by Josh Bettistea with 8:58 left in the first quarter. The Allatoona defense held North Paulding on the Wolfpack's opening drive and got the ball back to the Bucs offense. The drive ended with another Allatoona touchdown, this time from the air. Jeremy Uzee connected on a 76-yard pass play to Clarence Soleberry to put the visiting Buccaneers up 14-0 over the Wolfpack.
Near the end of the first quarter, the North Paulding offense came alive. The Wolfpack moved the ball down the field with a series of screen passes and runs from scrimmage. North Paulding finally reached pay dirt with just 10.5 seconds left in the quarter, bringing the Wolfpack within seven of the Buccaneers.
The second quarter would be much like the first with Allatoona scoring twice again, first on a 2-yard run by TJ Herron with 2:45 left in the half and again after a 45-yard touchdown by Josh Bettistea. The Wolfpack moved the ball down to the Buccaneers' 1-yard line, but the first half ended without a North Paulding score. Allatoona went into halftime with a 28-7 lead over the Wolfpack.
During the third quarter, both teams moved quickly up and down the field. Allatoona drove to the 1-yard line and Jeremy Uzee scored on a quarterback keeper. The Wolfpack answered right back with a quick touchdown of their own to bring the score to 35-14 with 5:48 left in the third quarter. Three plays later, Allatoona scored on a 4-yard dive by TJ Herron to make the score 42-14.
North Paulding took the resulting kick, but fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage. The Buccaneers recovered it on the Wolfpack's 23-yard line. Like North Paulding, Allatoona fumbled the ball on the next play from scrimmage and the Wolfpack capitalized on the turnover. North Paulding drove the length of the field using a hook and ladder play and getting the ball to Cooper Corley, who moved the ball inside the Buccaneers' 5-yard line. The Wolfpack capped the drive with a touchdown with 1:57 left in the third quarter.
But as the fourth quarter started, “thunder and lightning” struck again as Allatoona drove down the field on strong runs by TJ Herron and Josh Bettistea. With 11:19 left in the game, the Buccaneers went up 49-21. On the next Wolfpack drive, Allatoona's Alex Ison intercepted Chase Noonan's pass on the Wolfpack's 45-yard line. The Bucs quickly punched the ball in the endzone and extended the team's lead.
Down 56-21, the Wolfpack offense didn't quit. North Paulding scored once more with 3:26 left in the contest. The extra point attempt was no good, and Allatoona walked away with the 56-27 victory to remain undefeated.