Saraland edges W.S. Neal 27-20 Thursday
The W.S. Neal Eagle football team lost their final region game to Saraland Thursday on the road 27-20.
The loss dropped the Eagles to 0-9 overall and 0-7 in region play. The winless region schedule for W.S. Neal was the third straight year they have gone winless in region play.
With the game tied at 20-20 late in the game, Saraland scored on a 33-yard pass play on a third-and-30 with 2:13 left in the game to lead 27-20 after the PAT.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles fumbled with Saraland recovering to run the final time off the clock for the win by seven.
“Well, first of all, it was an extremely frustrating loss,” W.S. Neal Eagle head coach Kevin Jordan said. “Quite frankly, that was a game we should have won. We have a tie ballgame right at the end and we have them third-and-30 and we get beat deep. That just can’t happen in that type of situation. We give up a score there and we have the opportunity to get the ball back and go down there and score ourselves. Then we fumble the kickoff right at the end of the game. It is just frustrating.”
W.S. Neal scored first in the game Thursday night as Saraland fumbled a botched snap on a punt. Ashton Elliott recovered the ball in the end zone to give W.S. Neal a 7-0 lead with 9:15 left in the first half.
The Eagles would hold the 7-0 lead through the first quarter, but with 3:40 left before the half, Saraland scored on a two-play, 35-yard drive to cut the lead to 7-6. After a failed PAT, Saraland was able to tie the game after a W.S. Neal penalty on the kick and Saraland was able to retry the kick.
W.S. Neal later went four-and-out and Saraland took over with 2:05 left before the half and scored three plays later to lead 14-7 at the half.
On the second half kickoff, W.S. Neal fumbled the kickoff and Saraland would score four plays later to go on top 20-7 with 10:27 left in the third quarter.
Damion Williams gave W.S. Neal their first offensive touchdown of the night as he scored on a 20-yard run to cut the lead to 20-14 with 8:42 left in the third quarter.
With Saraland holding the six-point lead after the third quarter, W.S. Neal tied the game at 20-20 when quarterback Dylan Godwin found Williams for an 11-yard score. The PAT was no good tying the game with 6:43 left in the fourth quarter.
Saraland then went 11 plays and scored on third-and-30 to take a 27-20 lead with 2:13 left in the game and hang on for the win after W.S. Neal fumbled the kickoff.
Jordan said his team has one game left to go and correct their mistakes and give themselves the chance to win a football game.
“When I say a chance, I mean make the plays to win it,” Jordan said. “That is what we have to do. We have been in numerous games and it always seems to be the mistakes on our part that end up costing us the game and that is what it was tonight.”
Although it was a tough loss, Jordan did see some positives.
“I thought we ran the ball really well inside,” Jordan said. “Damion Williams ran the ball really well on offense. Basically, I thought we played well at times. Our tackling was not very good especially in the stretch in the second quarter. We got beat a couple of times in cover-3, three-deep coverage and that should never happen. But it did. I thought our offensive line played really well up front and that was one of our better games on the offensive front tonight. This was just a very frustrating loss.”
W.S. Neal finished with 269 yards of offense with 149 rushing and 120 passing.
The Eagles had 113 in the first half (32 rushing, 81 passing) while having 156 in the second half (117 rushing, 39 passing).
Saraland had 372 yards of offense with 146 rushing and 226 in the air and had 19 first downs to W.S. Neal’s 17.
Williams led W.S. Neal rushing with 131 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown. Godwin finished 8-for-14 passing with 120 yards and one touchdown.
Elliott led receiving with three catches for 77 yards.
W.S. Neal will play rival T.R. Miller next week at Brewton Municipal Stadium in the annual Battle of Murder Creek.
“I told the guys, we could heal a lot of wounds this week by going out and having a great week of practice and giving ourselves a chance to win the game next week,” Jordan said. “They have given themselves the opportunity, but have not gotten the job done. Those games are over. This is a one game season now and the only game that matters. Not only is it the next one, it is the biggest one. That is what I told them.”