Starters make their point in Eagles win
By By BRUCE HIXON-Sports Editor
It was far from a perfect performance by the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles starting unit, but their dominance came through loud and clear in Friday's 27-18 exhibition road win over the Hillcrest Jaguars.
During its two quarters on the field, W.S. Neal's starting crew zipped to a 27-0 halftime advantage and outgained Hillcrest 295-27 in yardage.
Mario Daniel's 65-yard touchdown run on the game's first play (there were no kickoffs Friday) gave the Blue Eagles a lead they would not relinquish. Josh Danley's point after kick made it 7-0 20 seconds into the contest.
The Blue Eagles were equally efficient in their second possession although it did not contain the lightning strike that Daniel's opening play had. The six-play 49-yard march did contain a 25-yard completion from Marquis Barksdale to Dewayne Floyd and a 17-yard run by Daniel that eventually set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by Jake Bailey on a third-and-goal situation. This time Spencer Williamson added the PAT kick to make it 14-0 with 7:15 still left in the opening frame.
W.S. Neal looked as if it would make it three scores in as many possessions, as it reached the Jaguars' nine-yard line on the last play of the first quarter. On the opening play of the second quarter, Hillcrest's Brandon King picked up a fumble in the W.S. Neal backfield and returned it to midfield to thwart that threat.
Despite that missed opportunity, it was not long before the Blue Eagles were back in business again.
After a quick defensive stop, W.S. Neal covered 65 yards in just six plays and scored when Barksdale rushed for an 11-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper. Danley's PAT kick made it 21-0 with 7:46 left in the first half.
The Blue Eagles' defense, which allowed just two first downs in the first half, gave W.S. Neal another scoring chance when Jamar Travis scooped up a fumble at the Hillcrest 35 just one play later.
This time W.S. Neal came away empty, as Danley hooked a 29-yard field goal attempt wide left.
The Blue Eagles got a final chance with just over a minute
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to go when they went 52 yards in six plays. It was a possession that looked would run out of steam when W.S. Neal faced a third-and-15 from the Hillcrest 36, but Daniel made a leaping catch with body at full extension that resulted in a 29-yard pickup and a first down.
After a quick spike to stop the clock, Barksdale then hit Justin Howard on a seven-yard slant pass to the right for a touchdown. A low snap and then an incomplete pass from Danley on the conversion kept W.S. Neal's lead at 27-0 with nine seconds left in the half.
While Hathcock pulled his starting unit for the second half, Hillcrest continued to use its starters for most of the second half.
The result was almost a reversal of the first half, as the Jaguars outscored W.S. Neal 18-0 and outgained the Blue Eagles 175-6.
Hillcrest went 65 yards on eight plays on the opening series of the third quarter and scored when Brandon Bullock rushed across the goal line from six yards out. Derrick Paige's two-point conversion pass attempt fell incomplete and that left the score at 27-6 with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguars' defense cut into that lead even more just over a minute later when Billy Phillipe stripped the ball from the W.S. Neal backfield and fell on it in the endzone for a touchdown. Again, Paige came up empty on a two-point conversion attempt, this time with a run. The missed conversion kept the Blue Eagles' lead at 27-12.
Hillcrest got its final score with 4:06 left in the game when Paige scored on a 25-yard quarterback keeper to make it 27-18. Hillcrest's third missed conversion, this one caused by a bad snap, kept it a two-possession lead and for all intent sealed the final outcome.
W.S. Neal will kick off its season for real Friday when it travels to Eufaula for a 7 p.m. game.
W.S. Neal 14 13 0 0 – 27
Hillcrest 0 0 12 6 – 18
W.S. NEAL- Daniel 65 yard run (Danley kick)
W.S. NEAL- Bailey 1 yard run (Williamson kick)
W.S. NEAL- Barksdale 11 yard run (Danley kick)
W.S. NEAL- Howard 7 yard pass from Barksdale (pass failed)
HILLCREST- Bullock 6 yard run (pass failed)
HILLCREST- Phillipe recovered fumble in endzone (run failed)
HILLCREST- Paige 25 yard run (run failed)
First downs: W.S. Neal 12, Hillcrest 11
Third down conversions: W.S. Neal 3-7, Hillcrest 2-8
Fourth down conversions: W.S. Neal 0-0, Hillcrest 1-4
Total yards: W.S. Neal 301 (201 rushing, 100 passing), Hillcrest 202 (203 rushing, -1 passing)
Individual rushing: W.S. Neal- Daniel 4-84 1TD, Roh. Travis 3-50, Bailey 4-30 1TD, Ron. Travis 2-25, Barksdale 4-8 1TD, Mitchell 4-4, Sheffield 3-3, Danley 4-(-3); Hillcrest- Goodson 4-61, Deese 13-61, Paige 7-22 1TD, Wilson 5-22, Wallace 3-16, Simpson 2-10, Bullock 2-8 1TD, Moler 1-3
Individual passing: W.S. Neal- Barksdale 6-10-100 1TD, Danley 0-1-0; Hillcrest- Paige 1-5-(-5); Goodson 1-4-4
Individual receiving: W.S. Neal- Floyd 2-36, Daniel 1-29, Weaver 1-22, Howard 1-7 1TD, Alexander 1-6; Hillcrest- Bullock 1-4, Deese 1-(-5)
Individual punting: W.S. Neal Danley 2-73, 36.5 avg.; Hillcrest 3-68, 22.7 avg.
Penalties: W.S. Neal 7-80; Hillcrest 6-40
By Staff As a part of the legislative update I provided in this column just a few weeks ago, I... read more