By Greg Brunson Photos by Janet Brunson Friday night was a ‘Battle of the Bulldogs’ in the Class 1A football playoffs as the Brantley Bulldogs traveled to do battle with the Wadley Bulldogs, and on a cold, damp and windy night it was the hometown ‘Dogs that came out on top as Wadley claimed an exciting 35-24 win. Brantley took the opening kickoff and went right down the field on a 74-yard scoring drive. On the fifth play of the drive, Tucker Kilcrease hit Michael Booker on a quick slant that turned into a 49-yard touchdown toss. Kilcrease connected on all four of his passes in the drive for 68 yards, and while the extra-point try was blocked, Brantley was on the scoreboard first and owned a 6-0 lead with 10:03 left in the opening quarter. Wadley’s initial possession of the night began at the Brantley 44-yardline, and eight plays later ended in the endzone after a 5-yard scoring run by Trevor Cameron. Justin Fulghum kicked the extra-point to put Wadley on top 7-6 with 7:07 left in the quarter. A mishandled snap on a punt attempt gave the ball right back to Wadley at the Brantley 23-yardline, and four plays later Thomas Overton broke the plane on a 1-yard run to cap the short scoring drive. Fulghum added the extra-point to push the Wadley lead to 14-6 with 4:45 still remaining in the first quarter. Brantley went right down the field on its ensuing possession only to come away empty-handed. A 41-yard pass from Kilcrease to Daquan Pittman put he ball at the Wadley 25-yardline, and three plays later Kilcrease connected with Grayson Layton for 19 yards to the Wadley 3-yardline. Four straight running plays netted only two yards; however, and the ball went back to Wadley on downs just inches from the goalline. The two defenses took over on the game’s next four possessions as all four series ended in punts, and at halftime Wadley’s lead was still 14-6. The first time Brantley got its hands on the football in the third quarter the Bulldogs went 88 yards in 15 plays to cut into the deficit. Tucker Kilcrease completed 7 of 11 passes for 78 yards on the long scoring drive and tossed a 5-yard pass to Parker Driggers to put the ball into the endzone, and while a two-point pass fell incomplete, Brantley was within 14-12 with 1:56 remaining in the third quarter. Wadley’s Elijah Beverly set up the game’s next score when he broke through to block a Brantley punt at the 20-yardline, and from there it took Wadley six plays to reach the endzone, with the score coming on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Jonathan Poole. The extra-point by Fulghum was true, and with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter Wadley had stretched its lead to 21-12. Midway through the quarter Brantley put the ball in play at its own 13-yardline and stunned Wadley as three plays later Parker Driggers, filling in for the injured Kilcrease, went up the middle on a quarterback draw and raced 76 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point try was again blocked, but with 4:57 left on the clock Brantley had pulled within 21-18. Wadley took the ensuing kickoff and went 65 yards in only three plays to pad its lead. Trevor Cameron got the call on all three plays and scored the touchdown, and Fulghum added the extra-point as Wadley gave itself a little breathing room with a 28-18 lead with 3:50 remaining in the game. Brantley wasn’t about to go down without a fight and bounced back as it raced down the field behind the passing of Parker Driggers. Three straight completions ended with a 45-yard touchdown toss to Billy Burnett, and while a two-point try failed to produce points, Brantley trailed only 28-24 with 2:30 still left on the clock. Wadley turned the ball over at the Brantley 7-yardline on its ensuing possession to give Brantley a final chance to pull off the upset, but on the game’s next snap Wadley’s Ladarius Echols picked off a Brantley pass and returned it 20-yards for a touchdown with just 16-seconds left on the clock, and Fulghum added the extra-point as Wadley finally put the game away and claimed the wild 35-24 win. Tucker Kilcrease paced the Brantley offense with 18 of 33 passing for 233 yards and two touchdowns, while Parker Driggers, playing despite a painful ankle sprain, completed 4 of 5 passes for 74 yards and one td, rushed for 83 yards and a score and pulled in 4 passes for 31 yards and a score. Billy Burnett had 8 catches for 111 yards and a td and Michael Booker pulled in 5 passes for 92 yards and one score. Trevor Cameron rushed for 236 yards and 2 td’s on 29 carries to spark Wadley.