MAYFIELD — The Mayfield Cardinals narrowly pulled out a 21-20 win over the Caldwell County Tigers at War Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Much like the year 2020, the start of the game was anything but normal.
Just as the teams prepared to run out of the tunnel, the game was forced into a 45 minute delay due to a stadium light going dim and needing repair.
Following the unfortunate break, the Cardinals and Tigers hit the field.
The Mayfield offense went to work early against Caldwell County, picking up an early 7-0 lead thanks to a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zane Cartwright to wideout Daniel Coles.
A three-and-out from Caldwell would plague the Tigers as Mayfield managed to add to its lead, this time on a 22-yard pass from Cartwright to Ben Gloyd.
An interception at the goal line on the Cardinals’ next possession would keep Mayfield from going up three scores as Caldwell County’s Tripp Branch made an athletic move to pick off the first-year sophomore QB.
Following back to back three-and-outs, the Tigers finally got things rolling on offense, capping off a 50-plus yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Caldwell County running back Travion Samuel.
Just before the halftime break, both Mayfield and Caldwell County would punch in touchdowns as Galbreath hauled in a 12-yard pass from Cartwright while Caldwell County quarterback Russ Beshear connected with Branch for a 14-yard TD.
Ending the half with some excitement, the Cardinals and Tigers foreshadowed a nail biter of a second half.
The Mayfield offense failed to move the ball to open up the second half as the Tigers forced a quick three-and-out to take over on offense with a chance to tie things up.
A long, time consuming third quarter drive put together by the Tigers would prove successful as Beshear found Branch in the end zone once again, this time for a 10-yard touchdown.
Turning down a chance to tie the game at 21 with a two-point conversion attempt, the Tigers kicked the extra point to pull within one, 21-20, with just under five minutes to play in the third.
Offense somehow became nonexistent for each team down the stretch as both the Cardinal and Tiger defense stepped up their games, leaving Mayfield ahead 21-20 midway through the fourth quarter.
With less than three minutes to play and a chance to take a late-game lead, the Tigers began to make a few moves to advance the ball down field.
Caldwell County would move the ball inside the Cardinal 30-yard line but miscues damaged any chance of completing the comeback as the Tigers failed to convert on fourth and long with under a minute to play, allowing the Cardinals to escape victorious.
Following the win, Mayfield head coach Joe Morris said he was happy to see his team make some corrections but adds there’s still work to be done come next week.
“We played very well in the first half, we threw the ball on time, got some protection and started bringing some pressure,” Morris said. “We made some mistakes on the offensive line but those mistakes have been cut down from last week and the week before. We’re getting there, we’re just not where we need to be yet. [This] was a hard fought victory and a big district game so we’re happy to come away with a victory.”