Autauga Outlast Tuscaloosa Academy 15-7
Today marked new beginnings for both the Tuscaloosa Academy Knights and the Autauga Academy Generals. Tonight, not only marked the home opener for the Knights but it also served as the start of the Todd Bradford era. The Generals under Head Coach Bobby Carr are looking to begin another tittle run for the A.S.I.A AA State Championship.
“We’ve got a talented young team and all I can ask of them is to give their best efforts.” Bradford said, “With our all-around speed on both sides of the ball, I like our receiving core. A lot of our guys play one side so they will get plenty of rest. Like I said this is a young team, but they don’t play like that and I won’t coach them like they’re young. We’re ready to go.”
Both the Knights and Generals would get off to solid defensive starts forcing each other to punt on their respective first possessions of the game. However, the turnover bug was seen crawling out of both locker rooms as the Knights and Generals would exchange possessions respectively in back to back fumbles.
The first quarter drew a shut-out for both teams, but big-time adjustments would lead to big time plays in the 2nd quarter.
On the Knight’s first drive of the quarter Whitt Winfield connected with Jack Standeffer on a 70-yard beauty that finally put the Knights on the board with the score being 7-0 with 6:54 left to go in 2nd quarter.
The Generals would return the favor by driving down field with multiple 30-yard bombs by Lake Barber, which set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Anden Hilyer. However, the Knights would make a goal line stand and stop a 2 point a conversion. Leaving the score at 7-6 in favor of the Knights.
The next drive would be wrecked by defensive star Joshua Palmer who caused a strip sack and an immediate momentum shift that the Generals needed.
The ensuing possession would be methodical and well balanced as the Generals were led by senior QB Will Traywick. He accounted for 40 yards passing and 19 yards rushing to set up a field goal to close the half and create a small but needed gap between the Generals and the Knights with score being 9-7 at the half.
The 3rd quarter was filled with missed opportunities for the Knights. As Tuscaloosa Academy would use multiple backs for fresh legs and less fumbles, drives were killed due to penalties, turnovers on downs.
The General offense however was stagnate as well due to the play-making ability of defensive back Jordan Evans who accounted for three deflections and five tackles. In addition to the Leon Sandler’s two sacks and Phillip Lancaster’s five tackles (three being for losses) The Knights defense gave hope when all seemed lost until they finally broke and gave up a 60 yard pass to end the 3rd quarter which set up another Hilyer score with 11:53 left to go in the game. Leaving the score at 15-7 in favor of the Generals.
The 4th quarter would further cement the General’s vice grip on the game. As the defensive back duo of Donte Henry and Jaquon Cohen set up a no- fly zone, Jordan Palmer continued to haunt the Knight’s offensive line the Knights were just one big play away all game.
As the defenses traded stops up until the 4-minute mark Tuscaloosa Academy had a chance to tie with the score still being 15-7. However costly penalties would derail their drive. Forcing them into 3rd and long where Jaquon Cohen made his biggest pass deflection of the night. (one of eight) Forcing a desperation throw on 4th down that resulted in a game sealing tip interception made by Caden Henry.
Bobby Car reflected on the win by saying
“If there was a bright spot, it was definitely defense.” He continued. “I was talking to coach Bradford about it feeling like spring football. Coming in I knew we would make mistakes but as bad we played it’s good to get a win.”
The Autauga Academy Generals will look to get another win as they travel to Vernon, Florida. As the Tuscaloosa Academy Knights looks to get back on track vs Fort Dale Academy.