Two defensive touchdowns helped the Wolfpack build a sizable early lead, but on a night filled with big plays, the Whitefield offense put together an 11-play drive to run out the clock on a 44-41 win over King’s Ridge Christian on Friday in Milton.
“It was a complete game — offense, defense and the kicking game,” Whitefield head coach Jimmy Fields said. “Obviously, we’re not real pleased we gave up 41 points, but at the end of the game, the objective is to have more points than they do, so we found a way to get that done.”
Ajani Kerr’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown helped key a 23-point second quarter for Whitefield, and Alex Manning returned a fumble 92 yards for a touchdown to open the second-half scoring and give the visitors their largest lead of the game at 37-17. After King’s Ridge staged a 17-point rally, quarterback Everett Pollard and the Whitefield offense killed the final 5 minutes, working the ball down the field and icing the game with a 12-yard pass to Sky Dupree on fourth down in King’s Ridge territory.
Pollard had a pair of rushing touchdowns and made the most of his limited opportunities to throw, finishing 9-for-13 through the air for 134 yards and two more touchdowns. In addition to his key reception, Dupree led the defense with 10 solo tackles and 10 assists, including two tackles for loss.
With the victory, Whitefield moved into fourth in Region 6A (B), setting up a challenging matchup in next week’s region crossover game against 6A (A) leader Darlington, which entered Friday 7-1 and ranked No. 2 in the GHSA power rankings for Class A private schools before falling to Our Lady of Mercy in a non-region game.
“You’re going to have to be in that kind of arena where you’re playing a top (Class A team),” Fields said. “Right now, we’re in the power rankings, and honestly, the higher-seed teams you’re playing, the better it is for you even though it does present a big challenge. But that’s what you want. You want to have an opportunity to play for the playoffs.”
The Wolfpack will have home-field advantage on their side next Friday despite its lower seed, as was predetermined two years ago when the newly reclassified region decided that its two subdivisons would alternate hosting duties for the crossover games.
“We’re fighting for our lives right now for those playoffs, all those implications as the season comes to a close next week,” Fields said. “Our kids put themselves in a good position.”