By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

The Kemper County Wildcats will open post season play Friday night when they host the Raleigh Lions in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.

The Wildcats dropped a 28-18 decision to Forest last week and closed their Region 5-3A schedule with a 2-1 record. They enter the playoffs as the No. 2 team out of the region.

“Forest wanted to win the region championship and they took it,” Coach John McKenzie said. “We were disappointed but that is behind us now. We want to see how fair we can go in the state playoffs.”

Kemper County struck first as Aaron Steele caught a two-yard TD pass from De’Ontre Rush. The try for two failed and the Wildcats led 6-0.

Forest scored three times on runs of 24 yards, five yards and 30 yards. The Bearcats led 21-6 at the half.

But the Wildcats fought back. First, Steele caught a 25-yard pass from Rush. The Wildcats trailed 21-12. Then Jamar Grace  caught an 18-yard pass for a touchdown. The extra points were no good and the Wildcats trailed 21-18.

Then in the fourth quarter, Forest scored on a 47-yard TD play to put the game away.

Rush completed 13-of-29 passing attempts for 231 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and was intercepted three times.

Steele caught six passes for 87 yards. Grace caught three for 80 yards. Ricardo Windham rushed eight times for eight yards.

Windham led the team with 15 tackles while Ishmael Naylor had 14 tackles. Heaven Coleman had two fumble recoveries.