CARROLLTON, Ga. – A nine-win season came to an end on Ra-Lin Field on Saturday as the number seven Wolves fell to the sixth-seeded West Florida Argonauts 17-14 in the Second Round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
The Wolves came up short in a rematch of the regular season finale on Saturday. The Wolves forced five turnovers on the day and fell short to an Argonaut team that is currently riding a four-game win streak.
Offensively, the Wolves were held to their lowest single-game total in offense with 244, while allowing 337 total yards from West Florida.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the West Florida offense would run two plays before West Georgia’s Tyler Jack intercepted Mike Beaudry to get the UWG defense off to a rolling start. UWG would be forced to punt on the ensuing drive.
On the next Argo drive, it was Korie Rogers who got in on the pick party, as his interception of Beaudry, the GSC’s Offensive Freshman of the Year, set up the Wolves on their own 49 yard line. Again, however, the Wolves would be forced to punt it away.
Junior linebacker Cam Magee got the third interception of the game for the Wolves, picking off a would-be screen pass from Beaudry. This time the Wolves would drive deep into UWF territory, but Trey Wiggins’ field goal attempt would be no good as the game remained scoreless.
After the teams exchanged fumbles and punts, the Argos finally broke through and got on the board with a touchdown late in the half as Beaudry found Tate Lehtio for a three-yard score, to put UWF up 7-0 with 13 seconds left in the first half.
UWG would throw a deep pass to the endzone to close out the half, but it fell incomplete as the Wolves went to the locker room trailing by a touchdown.
Speedster JJ Jones took the opening kickoff of the second half 73 yards to the UWF 27 yard line, that set up the UWG offense to get on the board with a four-play, 27-yard drive capped off by Willie Candler calling his own number on the zone read from one yard out for the score.
On West Florida’s next drive, Korie Rogers got his second interception of the game, setting up another scoring drive for the Wolves. The big play was a 24-yard completion from Candler to Shaq Roland, and that setup the Wolves’ offense for the return of Travis Custis who took his first carry in over a month three yards to the endzone, putting UWG up 14-7 with just over 11 minutes left in the third.
A UWG fumble then gave the ball back to UWF and the Argos were able to drive deep into UWG territory, but the Wolves’ defense held their ground, forcing a field goal attempt that would sail wide right.
The Argos scored on their next drive, tying things up at 14 as Leroy Wilson took it in from five yards out at the 12:15 mark of the fourth quarter.
West Georgia was then forced to punt on their next drive, and the Argos took the ball into UWG territory and this time connected on a 41-yard field goal from Austin Williams, making it 17-14 with less than five minutes to play.
The Wolves had two more possessions to tie or take the lead, but was forced to punt on one of those, and after using all three timeouts got the ball back with 41 seconds left, but an interception would end the game and the season for the Wolves.
West Georgia was led defensively by Montrell Pardue who had 12 tackles, while Korie Rogers added 11 with the two picks.
Candler finished the game with 127 yards through the air with the one rushing touchdown. Devontae Jackson ran for 62 yards on the day, finishing his junior season with 1,175 yards on the ground.
The Wolves finish the season 9-4, with their third playoff trip in the past four seasons. West Florida improves to 9-3 on the season, and will travel to Livingston, Ala. to face top-seeded West Alabama in the Super Region 2 Championship next Saturday.