WSN falls to Satsuma
The W.S. Neal Eagles came out fighting at home on Friday, but were unable to overcome a strong Satsuma team, falling 20-39 for an 0 and 1 start on the season.
The game started fast with a back-and-forth scoring shootout when both teams crossed the goal line on their first two possessions.
The Eagles kicked off to the Gators, and on the very next play, Hunter Jednat sprinted 71 yards and into the end zone. The PAT was no good, but Satsuma took a fast 6-0 lead with less than 30 seconds having ticked off the clock. The Eagles answered when a 5-minute drive ended with quarterback, senior Matthew Thomas, sneaking into the end zone from the 2-yard line. Junior Jennings Hobbs’ kick was good, putting Neal in the lead 7-6.
Satsuma quickly struck back when Karson Green hit Deion Pickens with a 54-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but the score put the Gators back on top 12-7.
Once again, Neal would not be denied with junior Amon Craig and sophomore Joe Carroll tag teaming an 11-play drive down the field capped off by another quarterback keeper by Thomas from 4 yards out for a touchdown. Hobb’s extra point sailed through the uprights, and Neal was in the lead 14-12 a minute and a half into the second quarter.
The Gators struck again on their third possession when Green connected with Pickens for the second time from eight yards out. The two-point conversion was good, so with 9:50 on the clock in the second quarter, Satsuma took a 20-14 lead.
Neal turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, but got a second chance when senior Victor Bailey recovered a fumble that resulted when the Eagles sacked Green on a first and goal from the seven yard line. They were unable to capitalize on the turnover however, leaving the Gators with enough time to get in one more touchdown before the clock ran out. An 18-yard zinger from Green to Pickens and a 2-point conversion fail put the score at 26 for Satsuma and 14 for Neal with 1:29 left in the half. This would be the score when the clock ran out on the second quarter.
Satsuma kicked off to Neal to start the second half, and the Eagles flew down the field, scoring on a 10-yard run by Craig. The PAT was no good, but the Eagles closed the gap to 20 -26 with 9:14 left in the third quarter.
The Gators answered with yet another pass from Green to Pickens, this one was for 5 yards with 6:57 on the clock in the third. A failed two-point conversion gave Satsuma a 32-20 lead. The Gators were able to score one more time just over two minutes later with a three-yard scramble by Zach Mixon. The PAT was good, and Satsuma pulled further ahead to 39-20. This would be the final score with neither team able to find the end zone in the fourth quarter.
Head Coach Andro Williams said he saw improvement in his young team this week. “I think we were improved overall. We just have to keep improving from this week to next. I think as the game went on we got a little bit better, got acclimated to [defending on the edges],” Williams said. “We’ve just got to regroup, and come back and get these young soldiers ready. I’m proud of these guys for competing and not quitting. We could have easily quit in the course of it. We’ll come back, and we’ll get better.”
The Eagles put 319 total yards on the board in the game, with 316 of those on the ground. Satsuma rushed for 227 yards and passed for 228. Amon Craig was the Eagles’ leading rusher with 170 yards on 16 carries. Joe Carroll added 85 yards to the total.
This Friday, Neal faces off against Hillcrest at home at 7:00 p.m. in their first region game of the season.
I just think we were improved overall. It’s kind of tough to turn it on when we don’t see that kind of stuff, we don’t run that kind of stuff they’re running, so it’s kind of tough to get a look in practice. I thought we improved from one week to the next. We gotta keep improving from this week to next. I think as the game went on we got a little bit better, got acclimated to [defending on the edges]. We’ve just got to regroup, and come back and get these young soldiers ready. I’m proud of these guys for competing and not quitting. We could have easily quit in the course of it. We’ll just come back, and we’ll get better.