The Tornadoes’ Eric McClendon, 17, stops a Forest player in his tracks.
The Tornadoes’ Eric McClendon, 17, stops a Forest player in his tracks.
The Philadelphia Tornadoes put themselves in the driver's seat of the Region 5-3A race Friday night as they took a 34-27 victory over Forest in prep football action.

The Tornadoes stand at 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the Region 5-3A standings. This Friday night, they will travel to Raleigh to take on the 3-4 Lions. Raleigh opened region play last Friday with a 48-25 loss to Choctaw County. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

"It was a big win but it wasn't pretty," Philadelphia Coach Teddy Dyess said about the Forest game. "We went up 14-0 and then let them back in. We had a letdown.

"We had three turnovers in the game. It put us in a tough situation but we showed we overcome adversity and that was good. We are playing good defense all year. We have got to avoid turnovers."

Philadelphia jumped out to a 14-0 lead. First, Jacardius Griffin scored on a one-yard run in the first quarter. Later, senior quarterback Romon Gray scored on a 23-yard run. John Harold Smith kicked both extra points and the Tornadoes led 14-0 in the second quarter.

But in the time remaining in the second quarter, Forest took advantage of two Philadelphia turnovers and tied the game up. Forest's Jaylon Lofton scored on runs of six and 20 yards. Trenton Evers kicked two extra points and the game was tied at the half.

Kaylon Gray caught a 73-yard TD pass from Romon Gray to put the Tornadoes back on top 21-14 in the third quarter. Later, Griffin scored on another one-yard run. Smith kicked both extra points and the Tornadoes went up 28-14.

The Bearcats pulled within one touchdown as Laron Moore caught a 34-yard TD pass from Chris Mazique. Evers kicked the extra point and the Tornadoes led 28-21 going into the fourth quarter.

Josh Fulton settled the issue in the final quarter when he intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. The extra point try failed and the Tornadoes led 34-21. The Bearcats would score one more time in the fourth quarter but time ran out and the Tornadoes took the victory.

Forest had a 15-13 advantage in first downs but Philadelphia had a 329-290 yard edge in overall offense. The Tornadoes rushed 35 times for 211 yards and completed 4-of-12 passes from 118 yards. The Bearcats rushed for 90 yards on 38 carries and completed 12-of-26 passes for 200 yards.

Gray rushed for 110 yards on 13 carries and had all of the Tornadoes' passing yardage. Griffin finished with 83 yards on 19 carries. Kaylon Gray had all four of Philadelphia's receptions.

Linebacker Fent Mars was the leading tackler with 19. That gives him 61 for the season. Keylon Burnside had nine tackles while Josh Rush had seven. Brad Horne recovered a fumble; Pat Seales had two interceptions and two tackles; and, Edrick McClendon had one interception.