TAMPA — A battle between two three-win teams came down to the wire, as expected.
Wharton held on for the three-point win after its defense forced an incomplete pass on fourth down with East Bay driving to try to complete a huge fourth-quarter comeback.
It looked like the Wildcats (4-1) had the game won when Sean McNamee blocked an Indians field goal attempt and took it back 83 yards for a 21-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
But East Bay (3-2) responded with a four-play, 80-yard drive to cut the lead to nine.
The Indians made it 21-18 after a Chris Greene rushing touchdown with three minutes to go, but the Wildcats were able to run out most of the clock on their ensuing position.
Wharton starting quarterback Chase Litton had a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown to lead the Wildcats offense, while running back Jeffrey Kiel caught seven passes for 84 yards.
East Bay starting quarterback Chris Carpentier had two 1-yard touchdown runs to lead the Indians’ offensive attack.
East Bay 0 0 6 12 — 18
Wharton 7 7 0 7 — 21
W - Litton 1 run (Spearringer kick)
W - Kiel 12 pass from Litton (Spearringer kick)
E - Carpentier 1 run (kick failed)
W - McNamee 83 fumble return (Spearringer kick)
E - Carpentier 1 run (run failed)
E - Greene 2 run (kick failed)