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South Laurel’s Chase McWhorter is brought down by three Williamsburg Yellowjackets. The Cardinals came from 20 points down to beat the Yellowjackets, 32-26.

With 7:47 left in the third quarter of Saturday’s Cumberland Valley Bowl, South Laurel was trailing Class 1A Williamsburg, 26-6. The Cards looked destined to start the season 0-2.

Then Tyler Vaughn took over for the Cardinals, scoring four touchdowns to help lead South Laurel to a 32-26 come-from-behind win over the Yellowjackets.

“Tyler ran like he’s capable of,” coach Larry Welch said. “And our line did a better job of blocking for him. It was a big plus to get some of our line back. It gives us an opportunity to rest some players on offense and defense.”

Vaughn had a huge game, rushing for 219 yards and five touchdowns. He also recovered a Williamsburg fumble.

The Cards (1-1) struggled to get anything going against Williamsburg in the first half, thanks in part to the play of quarterback Ryan Moses, who ran for one score and threw for another as the Yellowjackets held a 20-6 lead at the half. Moses scored on an 11-yard run, then hit Dusty Brown for a 27-yard score and Daniel Pettitt on a 54- yarder just before the half.

It was at the half that Welch gave a message to his team.

“I told them we weren’t playing near to our potential,” Welch said. “The effort wasn’t there. You’ve got to have heart in this game. I guess somewhere along the line I got my message through. My hat’s off to them.”

The Cards fumbled the ball away twice in the first half, including one by Vaughn as he looked destined for the end zone. He did score on a six-yard run with 9:16 left, cutting the lead to 8-6.

Another South Laurel fumble on its first drive of the third quarter led to another Williamsburg score, when Moses ran it in from one yard out, and with 7:47 left in the third, the Yellowjackets held what looked to be a commanding 26-6 lead.

But that would be all the offense Williamsburg could muster, as the Cards scored 26 unanswered points to snatch victory from the Yellowjackets.

“I thought we were the better team,” Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron said. “We just imploded in the second half.”

Taking over on the 44, the Cards drove down the field in four plays, capped off by a 35-yard run by Vaughn, cutting the lead to 26-12.

Moses hit Hunter Williams for a completion on the first play of Williamsburg’s next possession, but he fumbled the ball, and Vaughn was there to recover it, giving South Laurel the ball on its own 47 with 5:42 left in the quarter.

The Cards then put together a 12-play, 52-yard drive that culminated with Vaughn scoring from three yards out. He also scored the two-point conversion, and with 11:56 left in the game, the once 20-point lead was down to six, 26-20.

The South Laurel defense then started to rise to the occasion, stopping Williamsburg on its next possession, giving the ball to the Cards on the 47 with 9:44 remaining. On third-and-five from the 42, Vaughn raced down the left side of the field to pay dirt. The point after was blocked, but with 8:18 left, the game was now tied, 26-26.

Williamsburg’s next possession was four-and-out, and South took over on the 33 with 7:05 left. Eleven straight running plays was capped off by a four yard run by Vaughn with 1:42 left, giving South Laurel a 32-26 lead.

Williamsburg had one last shot, starting on the 40 yard line, where Moses hit Spencer Brown for a completion to the South Laurel 41. But on the next play, Aaron “Cornbread” Vaughn sacked Moses back on the Williamsburg 47, and the Yellowjacket quarterback was also flagged for intentional grounding, moving the ball back to the 42. On second-and-27, Moses dropped back to pass, but his pass was picked off by Jeremy Smith, who returned it to the Williamsburg 45 to seal the win for the Cardinals. Moses finished the game 18-of-29 for 255 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and he ran for two scores.

South Laurel will now host North Laurel Friday in the annual Crosstown Showdown.

Denis House can be reached at sports@sentinel-echo.com

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