Prep Football Bearcats survive Fayette County 37-34 on Tizapa’s game-winning field goal | CullmanSense

Prep Football

Bearcats survive Fayette County 37-34 on Tizapa’s game-winning field goal

Head Coach Mark Britton leaves it all on the field after record-setting 151 wins

Coach Mark Britton / Joe McElroy

CULLMAN – “It was a great victory,” Cullman Bearcat coach Mark Britton said following his team’s stunning upset of Fayette County in the final seconds by a score of 37-34. “It’s wonderful. The kids fought all the way through it. I’m just proud of the kids.”

Friday’s matchup between the two-loss Bearcats and undefeated Fayette County proved to be a nail-bitter, as Cullman’s Miguel Tizapa nailed a 25-yard field goal to secure a 37-34 victory over the Tigers with just less than six seconds remaining in the game.

Fayette County got the game off to a quick start with a bit of trickery on a squib kick and recovery to start at Cullman’s 37-yard line. It only took a couple plays before the Tigers’ Byron Sanford took it 37-yards to put Fayette Co. up 7-0.

The Bearcats wouldn’t be demoralized by the quick 47-second score. Fletcher Jennings connected with Reese Harbison for a 38-yard gain to set the Bearcats up comfortably at the Tigers’ 7-yard line. It took Ezra Burks just two attempts to get into the end zone to tie the game up at 7 all, following the PAT.

It was only a matter of one play by Fayette County before the Bearcat defense lashed out, when Christopher Hulsey stripped the ball and recovered the fumble to give Cullman excellent field position.

Two plays later Jennings connected with Harbison for the second time for a 30-yard bomb to bring Cullman deep into Tiger territory. The Bearcats couldn’t break through the defense, which set up a 21-yard field goal attempt for Tizapa, which he nailed with ease to put Cullman up 10-7.

The Tigers pushed back on their next drive, but a strong defensive effort forced Fayette County to punt. Cullman took over at its 44-yard line and took six plays, two long runs from Jennings then a shot up the center by Ezra Burks, to give Cullman a 17-7 lead.

Cullman continued to dominate the first half when Jaron Potter came over the back of a Fayette County receiver to snag the interception and set the Bearcats up for another scoring drive. Burks busted open the defensive line for his third touchdown of the half to extend Cullman’s lead to 24-7 following the PAT.

Fayette County finally stopped the bleeding when it scored to bring the Tigers within 10, trailing Cullman 24-14. A few series later the Tigers went deep when Chance Stevenson hooked up with Darius Nalls for a 33-yard TD reception to pull the Tigers within one possession, 24-20, after the PAT was no good. 

The third quarter was fast and furious for both teams, but a forced fumble by Hulsey and recovery gave Cullman the ball deep in Tiger territory. Jennings hit Hayden Henderson for a 32-yard touchdown pass to increase the Bearcat lead to 31-20.

Cullman came out with decent field position, but an errant throw by Jennings was snagged by Nalls, who took it to the house for a pick-six. The Tigers missed the 2-point conversion attempt and trailed Cullman 31-26.

The fourth quarter brought back out the gifted foot of Tizapa, who nailed a short field goal to put Cullman ahead 34-26. A late rally by Fayette County had Stevenson hit T'marvic Smith for a huge catch to put pressure on the Bearcats’ defense as the Tigers marched down to the 19-yard line.

The Tigers’ Jamarious Jackson jumped over the Cullman defensive line to bring Fayette County within a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 34 all. The 2-point conversion with 35 seconds remaining was good as the Tigers’ Stevenson dove into the end zone to tie the game at 34-34.

Cullman’s Jennings aired it out to Henderson on the next series for a 44-yard bomb to set the Bearcats up at Fayette County’s 10-yard line. With 6.8 seconds remaining, the Bearcats’ Tizapa set up and nailed a 25-yard field goal to seal the 37-34 victory for retiring coach Britton.

Fayette County tried to make a last ditch effort to score on the kickoff, but Bearcat Dylon Wallace shut it down as he stripped the ball and retained possession to give Cullman the come-from-behind win.

Cullman ended Fayette County’s undefeated streak and improved to 4-2 on the season. Cullman will play at Pell City next Friday night.

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