Cunningham’s Field Goal Lifts Wildcats To 31-28 Win Over TA

Jonathan Schwab
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Friday, Nov. 8 – Daniel Cunningham made a 20-yard field goal as the clock expired to lift the Rockbridge County High School football team to a 31-28 win over Valley District rival Turner Ashby in the regular-season finale on Friday night in Lexington.

With the win, the Wildcats (8-2 overall, 4-1 district) finished second in the district, only trailing unbeaten Spotswood (10-0, 5-0). In the Region 3C quarterfinals, third-seeded RC will play host to sixth-seeded Brookville (4-6) next Friday at 7 p.m. Admission is $8.

Before the game, the Wildcats honored their 11 seniors. One of those seniors, Jailik Lynch, caught two touchdown passes from RC sophomore quarterback Miller Jay.

The Wildcats took a 7-0 lead just over a minute into the game, after Jay passed to Turner Cook, who sprinted away from defenders for a 67-yard TD, followed by a Cunningham extra point. The junior kicker converted all four of his extra point attempts. Two plays later, Grant Swinehart, the star running back for the Knights (6-4, 2-3), then made a 70-yard run and a 2-yard TD run, and a PAT by Marini Spirollari tied the game at 7-7.

RC went up 14-7 early in the second quarter when Jay made an 11-yard TD pass to Lynch. A 2-yard TD run by Swinehart, followed by a Spirollari PAT, tied the game at 14-14 with 5:21 left.

The Wildcats took the lead again when Jay made a 51-yard TD pass to Lynch with 3:27 left in the third quarter, and they stretched their advantage to 28-14 after Elijah Poindexter’s 61-yard TD run with 10:14 left in the game.

TA wasn’t done battling, though, as Swinehart made a 1-yard TD run with 4:59 left in the game to cut RC’s lead to 28-21. The Knights then recovered a Wildcat fumble, and C.J. Haskins made a 39-yard TD pass to Jared Peake, and the PAT tied the game at 28-28 with 1:35 left.

Jay made a series of passes to get the Wildcats into the TA red zone. An 8-yard run by Bret McClung got RC to the TA 7-yard line, and a couple of penalties on the Knights gave Cunningham a closer field goal to make.

Stepping up defensively with some big tackles for the Wildcats were seniors Noah Lawhorne and Matt Nicely.

For the full story, photos and stats from Friday’s game, with a prediction for next week, please see our Nov. 13 newspaper.

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