Final playoff spot on line for WSN this week at OppPublished 12:00pm Thursday, October 17, 2013
The W.S. Neal Eagle football team will be playing for their playoff lives this Friday night in Opp as a spot in the Class 3A playoffs is on the line when the Opp Bobcats host the W.S. Neal Eagles at Channell-Lee Stadium Friday night.
The winner of the game secures a playoff spot while the loser is all but out of the picture.
The loser drops to 3-3 and would need Bayside Academy to lose their final two games of region play to qualify.
W.S. Neal comes into the game with Opp with a 4-3 overall record and a 3-2 record in region play after falling at Bayside Academy Friday. W.S. Neal led Bayside late in the game before surrendering 27 points in the fourth quarter to fall by eight.
“The kids played really well,” W.S. Neal head coach Doug Hoehn said. “We didn’t have any turnovers and only a couple of penalties. We were leading the game 20-7 with 9:37 left in the game. We had a couple injuries in the fourth quarter and had to put some kids in some key positions that they normally do not play. We have a lot of kids playing both ways for us now and we just ran out of gas at the end. It just came down to depth at the end and Bayside had more depth. They are a good football team and they came back and won it in the final minutes of the game.”
Hoehn said on offense, Malcolm Hawthorne played well with 114 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He also had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Quenton Samuel had 165 yards rushing and a touchdown. On defense, Michael Williams had nine solo tackles and two assists while Trey Taylor had five solo tackles and two assists. Hawthorne had six tackles and one assist while Tory Brown had two sacks and two hurries.
As for the game with Opp this week, the Bobcats defeated W.S. Neal last season 14-0 on homecoming in East Brewton. Opp is 4-3 overall and 3-2 in region play after knocking off Cottage Hill last week 40-8.
Hoehn said Opp has a good quarterback, a good running back and three very good linebackers.
“This is a big game for both teams with playoff implications,” Hoehn said. “We are going to have to ask the kids to step up because of all our injuries. We hope to keep some kids fresh to finish strong at the end.”
With the loss last year to Opp and the must-win game to make the playoffs, Hoehn said he does not look at that.
“We don’t ever talk about games in the past that much,” Hoehn said. “We don’t really talk about future games. We just take one game at a time. I think the kids understand it is a region game and the playoffs are on the line. They know we are going to have to play our best for four complete quarters. Friday night we played well after three quarters of play. Bayside had only 70 something total yards. Our injuries are just starting to add up. We have kids not leaving the field. We just have to hope to get better at that and get mentally tough and gut it out until the end of the game. I know we are asking a lot of the kids and they are giving us their all, but we just have to step it up another notch.”
Kick off is set for 7 p.m. in Opp.