Wildcats dominate Dallas Madison in district opener

Sports Writer: Brent Cook

September 29, 2021

It was a dominating district debut for the Whitney Wildcats at Pleasant Grove Stadium last Friday night.

Facing the athletic Dallas Madison Trojans (2-3, 0-1) and their highly recruited quarterback, the Wildcats (2-3, 1-0) came out firing and never backed down. Whitney maintained the lead for the entire game and cruised to a 45-18 victory.

“We’ve been talking about needing a statement game, and this was it,” said head coach Mark Byrd. “This week was about being in the moment, and our guys came ready to play.”

From the get-go, it was apparent the Wildcats meant business. On the opening series, quarterback Garrett Peacock guided the Wildcats down the field. The drive was capped off with an impressive 42-yard field goal from freshman Carson Griffin.

The defense then quickly made its presence known. Back-to-back sacks from Jordan Newton and Kolt Byrd stopped the Trojans in their tracks. The next go-round, Madison tried again and the Wildcats mustered up a fourth down stop.

“Our defense really played well all night,” Byrd said. “We put the clamp down on them and stepped up in big moments. We were able to limit their playmakers. I told our guys that they hadn’t been hit yet, and that’s what we came out and did from the start.”

With a 3-0 midway through the second quarter, a fumble recovery from senior Dalton Wooten sparked the Wildcat offense.

A big run from Newton put the Wildcats into the redzone and Peacock then connected with senior Kyler Cryns to stretch the lead to 10-6. Madison was able to find the scoreboard courtesy of a 35-yard sprint from quarterback Justin Tucker, but the Wildcats closed out the half with a string of sizzling scores.

Peacock again targeted Cryns, who finished with a solid six catches for 116 yards, for a 52-yard touchdown reception. Then Newton barreled through a huge gap created by the offensive line to rumble to a 32-yard touchdown.

After a quick defense stand, Peacock then launched a pass to senior Orrin Green as the clocked ticked down. The ball was tipped in the air, and Green made a dazzling grab that resulted in an 87-yard score as the buzzer sounded.

“It was a great quarter for us,” Byrd said. “Back-to-back scores, an onside recovery and then that final score really deflated them.

The Wildcats’ hot streak continued in the second half with the same elements: a bruising defense and an explosive offense. Overall, the offense gained 590 all-purpose yards and the defense had six tackles for losses and multiple turnovers.

Amazingly, the next score was another field-long connection from Peacock to Green. This time it was a 94-yard touchdown. Peacock tallied 404 total yards and five touchdown tosses on the night.

The defense then got in on the action with an interception from Jairdyn Anderson, while Demarion Johnson and Teagan Winkler jumped on loose balls.

Whitney closed out the night with another score from Newton, who finished with two touchdowns and 142 all-purpose yards.

Whitney returns to Wildcat Stadium Friday night for another district match against A-Plus Academy. Academy sits at 1-3 on the season and has been outscored 189-42.

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