Early setback: WSN falls to Straughn
Leading 6-0 at the half, the No. 9-ranked Straughn Tigers scored 15 points in the third quarter to build a 21-0 lead over the W.S. Neal Eagles to help propel them to a 21-8 region win Friday night in East Brewton.
The win for the Tigers was the first of the season and improved them to 1-1 overall this season and 1-0 in region play while the Eagles of East Brewton fell to 1-1 overall and to 0-1 in region play.
While neither team scored in the first quarter, both had early chances in the second quarter to put the ball in the end zone. But, the defenses from both teams stepped up to keep the game scoreless with 3:20 left in the half.
In the second quarter, with Straughn driving the ball at their own 23-yard line, W.S. Neal quarterback Malcolm Hawthorne suffered an injury while playing defense that stopped the game for roughly 20 minutes. Hawthorne would be carted off the field on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.
After the delay, Straughn would be the first team to put points on the board. Tiger Devin Scott scored on a 3-yard run to put Straughn up 6-0 after a failed 2-point conversion. Straughn would hold the 6-0 lead at the half.
W.S. Neal head coach Doug Hoehn said the game delay and loss of Hawthorne were key in the game/
“Both teams played really hard and both teams played with a lot of class,” Hoehn said. “It is fourth down on the 2-yard line and we didn’t get in when it was 0-0. We didn’t get in, but we had been playing good all night long and had been moving the ball. Penalties got us in the first half and turnovers got us in the second half. Our starting quarterback (Malcolm Hawthorne) then went down. We put in a lot of packages for him this week. When he went down we had to go back to what we usually do.”
In the second half, Scott would get back to work for the Tigers as he gave Straughn a 12-0 lead with 8:16 left in the quarter after he scored on an 11-yard run. Straughn would get the 2-point conversion to take a 14-0 lead.
With 5:54 left in the quarter, Straughn quarterback Rollin Kinsaul would hook up with Brice Scott for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Tigers up 21-0.
Zack Haveard would get the final score of the night — the only score for the Eagles — as he romped 12 yards for a touchdown with 1:08 left in the third quarter. That touchdown run would cut the lead to 21-8 after a successful 2-point conversion. Neither team would score in the fourth as Straughn earned the 13-point region win.
“It was a tough ballgame,” Straughn head coach Trent Taylor said. “It always is when we play (W.S.) Neal. We have played when they were really good and we were really bad and we have played when they were down and we were good and it was close. I think you have two pretty good football teams. Two teams that this early in the year are still trying to find their way.”
Taylor thought the depth of his team played a part in his team’s win.
“I think probably numbers was the difference in the game tonight,” Taylor said. “I think they wore down a little. They were still playing hard there at the end, but the fact that we can run 11 different guys on and off the field probably helped us a great deal.”
W.S. Neal finished with 165 yards of total offense in the loss with 147 coming on the ground on 44 carries and 18 coming in the air. The Eagles had eight first downs.
Quenton Samuels led W.S. Neal with 93 yards on 21 carries. Hawthorne had 40 yards on 12 carries before being injured. Haveard had 28 yards on eight carries and one touchdown. W.S. Neal had two fumbles and lost both of them.
Hawthorne was 1-for-1 passing with minus-1 yard. Chavers went 2-for-4 with 19 yards. Trey Taylor had all the catches and yards for W.S. Neal.
“I thought Lane (Chavers) did a very good job when he came in (for Hawthorne),” Hoehn said. “We moved the ball. Turnovers got us. We had a nice drive and we stopped ourselves. Both teams played hard, but we stopped ourselves a couple of times. We kind of went in a little dip there when Malcolm went out of the game. We made two turnovers and they made 14 points off of them when the game was 6-0. We go down and score and make it 21-8 and we were right back in it. If we had scored again it was 21-16 and there are still four minutes left in the game, but we fumble the ball. We will be alright.”
Straughn finished with 255 yards of offense with 144 coming on the ground on 39 carries and 111 coming in the air. The Tigers had 12 first downs.
For the Tigers of Straughn, Scott led with 101 yards on 20 carries and had two touchdowns.
Kinsaul finished 6-for-9 passing with 111 yards and one touchdown. Scott had two catches for 70 yards and one score. Straughn had one fumble and lost it.
“I think our defense played pretty well tonight,” Hoehn said. “They broke a few on us. With an option team, you have to play assignment football. We had a couple of young kids out there. We start four seniors on defense and three on offense. A couple of young kids missed their reads a couple of times and that’s what kept their drives alive. You just have to play assignment football. If you have dive, you have dive. If you have the quarterback, if you have the pitch, you just have to take the right lanes to get there. A couple of times we one of our young linebackers scrap to wide and they got underneath us. And that cost us. I think we played hard all night long. I think what got us was when we went in that little dip. Defense was playing really well and we were moving the ball on offense. When Malcolm went out, we went into a little dip, and then we caught our second wind and we started playing much better.”
Taylor said it was nice to for his team to get in the win column Friday night.
“It feels good. It feels good. No doubt about it,” Taylor said of the win for his team and it being a region game. “We have got a lot of work to do obviously. But who doesn’t this time of the year?”
Straughn will host Southside-Selma next week while W.S. Neal will host Cottage Hill. Both games are set for 7 p.m. and are region games.