W.S. Neal snaps losing streak
Published 9:48 pm Friday, September 30, 2011
BY HEATHER STONE
W.S. Neal alumni had much to cheer about at Friday night’s homecoming game against Monroe County High School as they watched the Eagles soar to a 55 – 14 win over the Tigers.
About the win, head coach Doug Hoehn said, “I’m happy for the kids, the school, the community, our fans who’ve supported us at home and away this year. They know we’re rebuilding, and they’ve backed us 1000 percent. I’m just happy for the whole community. They deserve this and they need it. It was past due for them.”
The night ended a 20-game losing streak for the Eagles, making them 1-5 on a rebuilding season and marking the Eagles’ first win since Sept. 25, 2009 against Calhoun County. It also gave them their first region win since Oct. 27, 2007, when they defeated the TR Miller Tigers in a 14-8 overtime victory.
The night got off to an exciting start when the Eagles scored a touchdown on their first possession, ending a 5-play drive with a one-yard run into the end zone by Marquese Banks. Logan Williamson’s kick was good, leaving the score 7-0 with 9:05 in the first quarter.
The Monroe County Tigers were forced to punt on their next possession, and the Eagles needed only three plays to score again, when Hunter Mullins hit Dylan Godwin with a 60-yard pass. The kick was blocked, so with 5:10 in the first quarter, Neal was ahead 13-0.
In the second quarter, the Eagles racked up another 16 points. With 7:51 on the clock, Marquese Banks ran in a 7-yard touchdown, and quarterback Christian Purvis completed an eight-yard pass to Ashton Elliot for the two-point conversion. Ashton Elliot intercepted a pass from Monroe County’s quarterback, running it into the end zone, but a flag against the Eagles saw the touchdown called back. Three plays later, Damion Williams made a 6-yard touchdown run, giving Neal a 29-0 lead, which they held until the buzzer sounded at half time.
The Eagles chose to receive the ball to begin the second half, but the Tigers intercepted a pass, giving Neal fans a scare. Monroe was unable to capitalize on the possession, however, and they were forced to punt to the Eagles, who drove the ball 77 yards to the Tigers’ 4-yard line, where a penalty against MCHS put the Eagles at two-and-goal. Banks plowed through Monroe County’s line upping the score to 36-0 for Neal with 4:35 left in the third quarter. After a 60-yard touchdown run by Elliot with 2:27 on the clock, the Eagles ended with quarter with a huge 41-0 lead.
Monroe County was able to get on the board in the fourth quarter with an eight-yard run by quarterback Tytus Howard. On the kickoff, the Tigers kicked the ball into the end zone for a touchback, giving Neal possession on their own 20-yard-line. Banks immediately ran for an 80-yard touchdown as the homecoming crowd cheered. A 65-yard touchdown run by Hunter Mullins and a good PAT by Willaimson, as well as a 29-yard touchdown run by MCHS’s Crawford gave the Eagles the 55-14 win they have worked so hard for this year.
The Eagles racked up an impressive 510 yards in the game, with 414 of those rushing and 96 passing, while holding the Tigers to a total of 170 yards, 85 rushing and 85 passing.
Hunter Mullins was one for one passing for 60 yards. Christian Purvis completed four of eight passes for 36 yards.
“This community has a better football team than what it’s been shown, and we’re going to try to get that moving in the right direction,” Coach Hoehn said. “I hope [this win] will give us some confidence now where we can play and limit mistakes. We’re just trying to get better each week, and the kids have been great about it. They’ve just got to keep believing, and they’ve got to buy into what we’re doing.”
Ma. Banks led NHS rushing with 25 carries for 229 yards and 4 touchdowns. Elliot had four carries for 99 yards and one touchdown. Mullins carried the ball once for 63 yards and one touchdown. Williams carried five times for 17 yards and 1 touchdown. Godwin had one carry for 5 yards, and Purvis gained one yard on four carries.
Looking to the future, Hoehn said, “I told the kids if you’ll play hard, and limit the penalties and turnovers, if you just will do your assignment and not get so uptight that you block the wrong person or set the wrong pass protection, things will work out. I told them they’ve just got to keep believing.”
“The kids played hard, and Monroeville’s kids played with a lot of class. Their coaches did a good job,” said Hoehn. “I’m very happy for them.”
WSN – 13 16 12 14 – 55
MCHS – 0 0 0 14 – 14
NHS – Ma. Banks 1-yard run (Williamson kick)
NHS– Mullins –60-yard pass to Godwin (kick blocked)
NHS – Banks 7-yard run (conversion good)
NHS – D. Williams 6-yard run (conversion good)
NHS – Ma. Banks 2-yard run (kick failed)
NHS – Elliot 60-yard run (kick failed)
MCHS – Howard 5-yard run (kick blocked)
NHS – Ma. Banks 80-yard run (Williamson kick)
NHS – Mullins 63-yard run (Williamson kick)
MCHS – Crawford 29-yard run (conversion good)