WSN football takes down Elba in preseason game
In his interview earlier in the week previewing Thursday night’s preseason home football game against the Elba Tigers, W.S. Neal head coach Doug Hoehn said he wanted to use the game as an opportunity to gauge where his team was at and to get a good game plan to let him know what they needed to work on for next week’s season opener in Holtville.
While there were some expected negatives in the first real action against someone other than themselves Thursday night, there was one bright spot that can be a good game plan for next week’s opener and for the season: give the ball to running back Quenton Samuels and see what happens.
Against Elba Thursday night, the sophomore running back rushed for 303 yards on 28 carries and scored four touchdowns as he helped lead the Eagles of East Brewton to a 36-28 win over the Tigers of Elba. Samuels scored four of the Eagles’ five touchdowns and scored on runs of 75 yards, 15, 7 and 29 yards. Senior Eagle Zach Haveard scored the other touchdown for the Eagles as be broke a 60-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
“It was a little spongy, a little wet and sloppy out here tonight, but I think Quenton ran the ball hard,” Hoehn said. “This was his first outing of the year and he did good. I think the offensive line played well tonight. We didn’t have any blown assignments. We were blocking who we were supposed to. We had some long sustained drives. We punted twice, but both times were because penalties put us behind the chains. Once we got ahead a little bit, I started to do a few other things we had been working on. We need to work a little on our condition as we had a few kids cramp up.”
Overall, W.S. Neal racked up 433 total yards in the win with all coming on the ground. The Eagles ran the ball 53 times. W.S. Neal had 261 yards rushing in the first half and 172 in the second half. W.S. Neal finished with 15 first downs.
The Eagle defense held Elba to 280 yards of total offense and 11 first downs. The Tigers had 62 yards rushing on 20 carries with 218 coming through the air. Elba had 18 yards rushing in the first half and 44 in the second while accumulating 145 through the air in the first half and 73 in the second.
“The kids played hard,” Hoehn said. “The kids on both teams played hard. At times it was sloppy. At times we were not running our feet through tackles. We were lunging and we did not take the right lanes and we didn’t stay on the inside shoulder of the running back and we allowed him to make some cutbacks. What killed us were the cutbacks. We lined up wrong on defense twice and they scored on those two formations. You just can’t do that. We did well on our ball security tonight. We did reasonably well on penalties. The penalties we had were inopportune and that really hurt us. So, we have to clean that up. We have to cut down our penalties to less than five. We also had no turnovers tonight.”
W.S. Neal struck first in the game as Samuels scored on a 75-yard run with 10:44 left in the first quarter. Malcolm Hawthorne added the two-point conversion to put W.S. Neal up 8-0. After Elba scored their first touchdown of the game with 6:47 left in the first quarter to cut the lead to 8-6, W.S. Neal would get two scores in the second quarter to go up 22-6 with 5:34 left before the half. Twenty-one seconds later, Elba used a 57-yard touchdown pass to cut the Eagle lead to 22-14 at the halftime break.
In the third quarter, Elba outscored W.S. Neal 8-6 to cut the lead to 28-22 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, Samuels would score his final touchdown of the night on a 29-yard run to put W.S. Neal up 36-22 with 10:30 left in the game.
Elba would make things interesting late as they connected on their third passing touchdown of the game to cut the lead to 36-28.
After a failed onside kick, W.S. Neal recovered the ball and ran out the clock for the eight-point win.
“Tonight, I learned our kids are not going to give up,” Hoehn said. “But, we have to play better for all four quarters. We have to find a way to play better in certain situations. When we score and go up by three scores, we have to play as hard as we did to get up by three scores. Their running back is pretty good. He is the one who did the most damage to us. The kids played hard though.”
Along with Samuels 303 yards and four touchdowns, Haveard finished with 112 yards on nine carries and had a touchdown.
Hawthorne finished with 24 yards on nine carries and Dakota Graves had six yards on three carries.
W.S. Neal will kick off their 2013 season next week on the road as the travel to face the Holtville Bulldogs.