WSN MS ends season with revenge against BMS
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
It is one of those decisions football coaches face from time to time. They can choose to be content and sit on a lead or they can be aggressive and try to score.
W.S. Neal Middle School coach Ray Patterson chose the aggressive approach right before halftime and his decision helped lift the Blue Eagles to a 14-6 victory over the Brewton Middle School Tigers Thursday.
Thursday's game, which was the last of the season for both teams, enabled W.S. Neal to avenge a 12-7 loss to Brewton back in the season opener. Both the Blue Eagles and Tigers finished the season with identical 3-2 records.
"Probably the biggest difference between now and the first game was turnovers. We had some turnovers in that first game that really hurt us. We also did a lot better job of moving the ball. Our line was able to penetrate into Brewton's defense and open up some holes for us to run through," Patterson said.
Jamar Travis found most of those holes, as he wore down the Brewton defense for 136 yards rushing on 12 carries. Yet it was two pass plays that produced both W.S. Neal scores.
The Blue Eagles strung together a 14-play, 69-yard drive in the first half that ate 8:18 off the clock. While Travis ran for 44 yards on four attempts in that series, it was quarterback Taylor Cash's 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Payne on a fourth-and-12 with 3:50 left in the first half that put the Blue Eagles on the scoreboard. A missed conversion left it a 6-0 advantage.
Patterson and the Blue Eagles could have opted to keep that advantage after their defense recovered a Brewton fumble at the W.S. Neal 47 with just 52 seconds left in the first half.
Travis changed the complexion of the strategy with runs of 12, 10 and eight yards that took the ball to the Brewton 23 with 12 seconds left in the half.
Much like the first touchdown, Cash then rolled to his right and went to the air where he connected with Tyler Peavy on a 23-yard scoring reception. Derrick Fantroy then took the Blue Eagles lead to 14-0 on a two-point run.
The momentum W.S. Neal built in that first half quickly shifted towards Brewton when the Tigers' Stephen Murphy recovered a fumble at the Blue Eagles' 34-yard line just two plays into the third quarter.
Quarterback Brent Odom quickly had Brewton knocking on the door with a 28-yard run that took the ball to the seven. Matt Lane followed with a six-yard gain and then a one-yard touchdown plunge to the left side cut the visitors' lead to 14-6. It stayed that way when Odom's two-point run attempt came up short.
A three-and-out series by the W.S. Neal offense followed by a seven-yard punt gave Brewton the ball at the Blue Eagles' 35 and a good chance to pull even closer.
Odom had runs of six and 18 yards while Lane's three-yard gain took the ball all the way to the W.S. Neal eight where the Blue Eagles' defense stiffened. Brewton's offense was then backed up 11 yards over the next three plays where the drive eventually ended on downs one play into the fourth quarter.
That turned out to be the last chance for the Tigers, who never got the ball back. Travis and Cash made sure of that. Travis turned a third-and-four situation at the W.S. Neal 26 with a big 44-yard gain. Later Cash converted a fourth-and-one inside the Brewton five that helped eat up the final minute of the game.