Late turnover preserves Neal " B" win over TRM
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
While a turnover by their offense cost the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles a chance to break open their contest with the visiting T.R. Miller Tigers, it was a forced turnover by their defense that preserved a 12-7 victory at W.S. Neal Stadium in "B" team football action Monday.
"It doesn't matter what level it is, this is a big win for us," W.S. Neal coach Coy Campbell said.
The Blue Eagles built a 12-0 lead in the first half thanks to big plays by their special teams, defensive and offensive units.
Ryan Andrews, who played a huge role in W.S. Neal's win, came up with the first big play for the Blue Eagles when he blocked a punt deep in T.R. Miller territory.
Moments later Andrews burned the Tigers again on the offensive side when he hauled in a 19-yard touchdown reception from Marquis Barksdale. A missed conversion kept it 6-0 with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
T.R. Miller threatened to tie or possibly take the lead on its following possession when Andrews made another big play, a fumble recovery at the Blue Eagles' 10-yard line.
Andrews continued his one-man wrecking crew against the Tigers when he got W.S. Neal back on the scoreboard again when he caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Barskdale that doubled the lead to 12-0 with 2:10 left in the first half.
T.R. Miller thought it had gotten on the scoreboard when Brice Martin returned the ensuing kickoff back 73 yards for a touchdown only to have it called back when the officials announced they had not blown their whistles to start the play.
The Blue Eagles appeared in position to break the game open on their first series in the second half. A key 31-yard run by
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James Freeman took the ball to the T.R. Miller 17. On the next play Andrews caught a ball from Barksdale inside the 10-yard line. As Andrews turned, the ball squirted into the hands of Travis Holland for an interception.
That turnover pumped new life into the Tigers. It took just two plays for T.R. Miller to go 72 yards. Baxley Raines hit Martin on a 41-yard pass and Holland broke loose for a 31-yard touchdown run. Reo Kirkland's point after kick trimmed the lead to 12-7 with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
T.R. Miller threatened to pull the game out late in the fourth quarter. Justin Gomez momentarily gave the Tigers a 13-12 lead on a 22-yard touchdown penalty, but an illegal block penalty negated the score.
On the next play, W.S. Neal's Rohin Travis recovered a fumble on the left sideline at the Blue Eagles 24-yard line with 1:07 left that ended the Tigers last threat.
"We really had some kids step up. Andrews had a huge game for us all the way around. Barksdale, who has missed the entire varsity season so far due to an injury, made some nice plays at quarterback. Bobby Freeman did a great job running the ball for us," Campbell said.
W.S. Neal (1-0) will host Monroe County in its next game September 27. T.R. Miller (1-1) hosts Monroe County in its next game Monday.