Wolves win 46-42 first round playoff game and advance to second round in Green Bay Saturday
Albany, Ga.-The seventh-seeded Manchester Wolves recovered a fumble near the goal line with under a minute to play and punched the ball in for a touchdown to come from behind and upset the second-seeded South Georgia Wildcats on the road in a thrilling arenafootball2 league first round playoff game on Saturday night.
With the victory, the Wolves improved their record to 10-7 on the season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs against the third-seeded Blizzard in Green Bay next Saturday night.
The two American Conference foes had their high-powered offenses clicking all night as the Wolves and Wildcats traded scores in a back and forth battle, and then the Wildcats scored on their first possession in the fourth quarter to take a 42-39 lead. Manchester quarterback James Pinkney, the Schutt Offensive Player of the Game, drove his team up the field and faced a second-and-10 from=2 0the Wildcats 14. He tried to hit wide out Emery Sammons but the ball was fumbled and rolled into the end zone, where it was recovered by Cory Bailey for the Wildcats.
Manchester's defense then turned in another outstanding effort and stopped the Wilcats on downs on the ensuing series on the Manchester 9-yd. line.
Pinkney then drove his team to a second-and-two from the South Georgia 21 and looked to Sammons again going for it all, but the ball was deflected and Roland Cola, the Wildcats interception leader, picked off his 11th pass of the season at the 5-yd. line with less than one minute remaining.
Following the turnover, all the Wildcats had to do was kill the clock to ensure they would host the Blizzard in the second round. But with a first-and-10 from his own 6-yd. line, Wildcats quarterback Andrico Hines fumbled the exchange from the center on the snap and the Wolves alertly recovered the ball with :56.7 seconds remaining. Two unsportsmanlike penalties on the Wildcats moved the ball to the South Georgia 1-yd. line and Pinkney scored on the keeper for his third rushing touchdown of the night and Connor McCormack's PAT put the Wolves up by the winning score.
A chop block penalty on the Wolves would have negated the seven points, but South Georgia Head Coach Derek Stingley declined the penalty, figuring that Hines and his offense would be able to come right back with a game-winning score of their own. But Stingley was mistaken as the Wolves defense held the Wildcats out of the end zone when defensive back AJ Philip, who joined the team only recently, knocked a sure touchdown reception away in the end zone to preserve the upset on fourth down with 17 seconds left to play.
Manchester's winning streak has now been extended to five straight games while the Wildcats, the South Division champions, seven game streak was ended along with their playoff hopes.
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