By Ruthie Robison The Winston County Journal
The Houston Hilltoppers had been on a winning streak this entire season until they met up with the Louisville Wildcats in the first round of Class 4A, Region 4, District 4 play.
The Wildcats proved that they deserve a spot in the playoffs with their 35-14 over the Hilltoppers. Louisville took control of the ball from the first quarter and held Houston scoreless until the fourth quarter.
Junior Desmond Goss put Louisville on the board first with a 19-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Dalton Hudspeth added the extra point and the Wildcats had a 7-0.
Senior running back Cass Love continued the Louisville scoring in the second quarter, capitalizing on a fumble recovery just a few plays before, with a 22-yard scamper to the end zone.
A few minutes later, junior quarterback Wyatt Roberts connected with Goss through the air with a 40-yard touchdown pass.
Hudspeth gave the Wildcats the extra points after both touchdowns. Louisville had advanced their lead before halftime, 21-0.
Love entered the end zone twice during the second half of the game.
In the third quarter, topping off a successful Wildcat drive, Love punched it in from three yards out. Hudspeth made good on the PAT.
The Hilltoppers finally answered back in the fourth quarter. Houston quarterback Sharone Wright found Gavin McQuary in the end zone with a 22-yard pass. Shortly after, the Hilltoppers added points to the board again with a 48- yard punt return. Houston had cut away at the Wildcat lead, 28-14.
However, the Wildcats struck again with just three minutes left in the game taking advantage of another Hilltopper fumble. Love made an 11-yard touchdown run. Hudspeth added the extra point and locked a 35-win over Houston.
The Louisville defense forced a total of six Hilltopper turnovers during the game.
On the offensive side of the ball, Love led the rushing attack with 17 carries for 146 yard with three touchdowns. Goss followed with two carries on 24 yards with a touchdown.
Roberts was 12-25 through the air on 209 yards with one touchdown.
Goss had four receptions during the game for 96 yards with a touchdown. Hudspeth followed with three receptions for 60 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Raquel Graham led with 15 stops. Jeremy Sangster followed with 14 stops while Stefan Brown had eight.
The six Hilltopper turnovers were due to an interception each by both Dylan Nicholson and Nicholas Shields while Sangster, Julius Love, Channing Hughes and Shaquille Shumaker each recovered a fumble.
Louisville holds a 4-3 overall record and is 1-0 in district play. The Wildcats will travel to Kosciusko this Friday night to take on the Whippets.
Louisville will hit the road again the following week to Caledonia (4-3, 0-1). Then will finish their last two regular season games at home against a tough Noxubee County team (7-0, 1-0), and Leake Central (3-4, 1-0).
The Whippets have a 2-5 overall record and were recently defeated by Noxubee County in their first division game, 29-0.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.