WSN football gets first region win at MCHS
BY HEATHER STONE
The W.S. Neal Eagles skinned the Monroe County Tigers Friday night 47–8 to pick up their first region win, improving to 4-2 on the season, and 1-2 in region play. Neal racked up 365 total offensive yards in the game, 316 rushing and 49 passing, while Monroe County managed only 76 yards of total offense for the night, 21 rushing and 55 passing.
Head Coach Doug Hoehn saw improvement in his team this week.
“I think we were a little bit more physical this week,” Hoehn said. “We challenge the kids every week to play a little bit more physical. I think we were a little crisper than we were last week with the execution, and our defense improved.”
In the first half of play, Neal pushed for 251 yards, all rushing, while holding Monroe County to only eight yards offensively, minus-five rushing and 13 passing. The Eagles scored on four out of five possessions in the first half.
After the Tigers moved the ball only five yards before punting on their first possession, junior Quenton Samuel ran in a 76-yard touchdown on Neal’s first offensive play of the game. Senior Trey Taylor’s PAT was successful, giving the Eagles a quick 7-0 lead.
Four plays later, Monroe County turned the ball over on downs on the Eagle 40-yard-line, and Malcolm Hawthorne hustled for a 60-yard touchdown. Samuel ran in the two-point conversion, putting the Eagles up 15-0 with 6:30 remaining on the clock in the first quarter.
W.S. Neal was on Monroe County’s 14-yard line when the first quarter ended. Taylor covered those 14 yards with the quarterback keeper for another Eagle touchdown after only 13 seconds had ticked off the clock in the second quarter. The two-point conversion failed, and Neal’s lead increased to 21-0.
The Eagles were able to score once more before halftime with an 8-yard run by Taylor, whose PAT was also good, with 4:21 left in the half. Neither team scored again before halftime, despite Neal recovering an onside kick, and both teams headed into the locker room with Neal over Monroe County 28-0.
For the second week in a row, many of Neal’s younger athletes were able to see significant playing time, and they impressed their coach.
“The young kids, they really played hard,” said Hoehn. “They played the entire second half except for the first series, and they scored a touchdown, and held [Monroe County] to one score, so we’re really excited about our younger kids.”
In the second half, W.S. Neal posted 103 yards rushing and 49 yards passing, while only allowing the Tigers 13 yards rushing and 42 yards passing. Both Senior Trey Taylor and freshman Matt Hutchins threw touchdown passes in the second half of the game. The Eagles scored on three out of four possessions in the second half.
To start the third quarter, the Tigers kicked off to the Eagles. Neal took over on their own 35-yard line, and Samuel immediately ran in a 65-yard touchdown, but a flag on the play called it back. Eight plays and four penalties (on both Neal and Monroe County) later, Taylor launched a successful 30-yard pass to Samuel for another touchdown, and Taylor’s PAT was good, so with 7:50 left in the third quarter, Neal led by 35-0.
The Eagles once again were able to recover the ball on kickoff and needed six plays to move 44 yards, a drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Hawthorne. The PAT was no good, so at 4:20 in the third quarter, Neal increased its lead to 41-0.
Both teams punted once more before Hawthorne intercepted a Tiger pass, and ran it back into Monroe County territory. This set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Freshman Matt Hutchins to Junior Bryce Booker. The two-point conversion failed, but this gave Neal a 47-0 lead with only 6:05 remaining in the game.
Monroe County had one final possession before the game was over, and they capitalized on it. It took them eight plays to drive 55 yards down the field for their only touchdown of the night, a 21-yard pass from junior Christon Stallworth to junior Stevie Lett, Jr. The two-point conversion was good, so with 2:12 minutes left in the game, the score was Neal 47, Monroe County 8.
Neither team was able to score again before the clock ran out.
Junior Quenton Samuel led the Eagles in both rushing and receiving. He ran for 148 yards on nine carries and added one touchdown. Samuel also caught a 30-yard touchdown pass thrown by Taylor. Junior Malcolm Hawthorn rushed for 110 yards on 11 carries. He crossed the goal line twice. Taylor gained 38 yards on the ground and punched in two touchdowns. Sophomore J.T. Gantt carried the ball twice for a total of 13 yards. Sophomore Peyton Salter carried the ball three times for seven yards. Junior Bryce Booker was the receiver of a 19-yard touchdown pass thrown by Hutchins.
Though the team has shown improvement in some areas, Hoehn sees reducing penalties as a major goal for the coming week.
“We had no turnovers, which was a very good thing,” Hoehn said. “We had no turnover the first two games, then the third and fourth games we had some, then the last two games, we didn’t so we’re back on track with that,” he said. “We have to cut down on those penalties, so we’re going to address that this week at practice pretty thoroughly.”
W.S. Neal will host Thomasville this Friday night in another region game.
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