GUNTERSVILLE — Wildcat football saw its season slip away after seven Guntersville turnovers (five fumbles and two interceptions) led to a 56-21 loss against Mortimer Jordan in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs at Chorba-Lee Stadium on Friday night.

Four fumbles occurred in the second half when Mortimer Jordan outscored Guntersville 28-0. The Blue Devils only led Guntersville 28-21 after two quarters.

In the first half, the Wildcats started the game by fumbling the opening kickoff. Campbell Leach dropped the football, and then Mortimer Jordan’s JaMyrie May recovered it at the Guntersville 8-yard line. Quarterback Kourtlan Marsh scored on a run from about 2 yards out to draw first blood 7-0 with 11:13 remaining in the first quarter. The PAT kick by Feriram Sanchez-Gastelum was good — he finished 8-of-8 on PAT kicks.

After successfully fielding the kickoff, Guntersville’s first offensive possession ended with a score to tie the game 7-7. Running back Logan Pate rumbled his way into the end zone from 12 yards away with 8:58 remaining in the opening quarter. The PAT kick by Pablo Rios was good — he finished 4-of-4 on PAT kicks.

Later in the quarter, after Guntersville failed to convert on fourth down, Mortimer Jordan took a 14-7 lead when Marsh broke loose for a 69-yard touchdown run.

At the start of the second quarter, the Wildcats offense extended its drive to the Blue Devils 33-yard line, but then quarterback Zak Burnett threw an interception into the hands of Mortimer Jordan’s Luke Jasper with 10:41 on the clock.

On the ensuing possession, Mortimer Jordan took advantage of the turnover and capped off an 8-play, 74-yard drive with another score to extend the lead to 21-7. Marsh connected with Daniel Parks for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 7:44 remaining in the second quarter.

On the Wildcats’ next possession, Burnett completed throws of 5, 12 and 19 yards before he hit Cooper Davidson for a 44-yard touchdown pass to trim the lead to 21-14.

After a big defensive stand, Guntersville got the ball back with 4:06 remaining in the first half and drove down the field for another score to tie the Blue Devils 21-21. Pate found the end zone on a 3-yard run.

One play after the defense forced another punt by the Mortimer Jordan offense, the Blue Devils intercepted a Burnett pass after a receiver and defender tipped the football while battling for possession. Six plays later, Marsh scored on an 8-yard run to take a 28-21 lead into halftime.

Out of intermission, Mortimer Jordan wasted no time to put the playoff game out of reach.

Marsh capped off an 8-play, 51-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to take a 35-21 lead with 8:02 remaining in the third quarter.

After receiving the ensuing kickoff, Guntersville’s Pate fumbled the football, and then Marsh recovered it and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown to widen the lead 42-21 with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter.

During the following kickoff, Pate fumbled again. It was recovered by Mortimer Jordan’s May at the Wildcats 22-yard line. The Blue Devils scored four plays later to take a 49-21 lead with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter. It was Marsh scoring again on a 2-yard keeper.

Marsh finished the game with 151 yards and five TDs on 17 carries, and he completed 11-of-16 passes for 114 yards and a TD.

Into the fourth quarter, another Guntersville offensive drive was cut short by a fumble. GHS dropped the football around its 37-yard line, and the Blue Devils’ Parks jumped on it at the 39-yard line.

With 9:49 remaining in regulation, Keondrick Hankins scored the Blue Devils’ final touchdown of the night to take a 56-21 lead. He found the end zone on a 15-yard run.

While searching for a way to cut Mortimer Jordan’s deficit, the Guntersville offense committed its final turnover of the night with less than five minutes remaining. The Wildcats drove down to the 15-yard line, but then Jerrell Williamson fumbled.

For Guntersville, Pate finished with 72 total yards of offense with two TDs, according to The Reporter’s unofficial statistics. Burnett completed 24-of-35 passes for 243 yards and a TD with two interceptions.

With the defeat, Guntersville finishes its season with an 8-3 record. The 56-21 outcome was the only home loss for the Wildcats’ 2019 season.

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