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WSN Eagles Drop to Clarke County

The W.S. Neal Eagles faced another tough loss Friday night, falling 46-13 to the Clarke County Bulldogs, dropping the Eagles to 0-3 on the season and 0-2 in region play.

This was a difficult loss for a young team that has faced much adversity already this season. In addition to losing sophomore Isaac Bonam, a seasoned running back, in the jamboree, this week’s game was played without senior quarterback Matthew Thomas, who was injured in the game against Hillcrest the week before. Several experienced players were also lost over the summer for various reasons.

Head Coach Andro Williams talked about the effect inexperience has on his team. “I’m seeing some improvement in some areas. We’ve got to learn how to do it on a high level the entire time, just got to figure it out on that part. We’ve got to get more people to help us. It’s sad that we’ve [lost] some along the way to things that happened early for us,” Williams said. “If I could have gotten these guys some other reps as the summer went on, maybe we’d have been a little bit further ahead, but it sort [of set us] back when we [lost] some of those guys and those couple of injuries that we have, but we’re going to keep fighting and keep working. We’re going to come back from this and get after each other and get better,” he continued. “It’s a process when you’ve got inexperienced guys that haven’t been in this fight for four quarters having to play all over the field.”

While the Eagles have been starting strong, they got off to a slow beginning Friday night, receiving the kickoff, but turning the ball over with a fumble less than a minute into the game. The Bulldogs lost no time capitalizing on the turnover, needing only three snaps to get into the end zone on a 7-yard run by Cameron Watson, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 10:19 on the clock in the first quarter.

Neal had three more possessions and Clarke County had two more in the first quarter, but both teams either punted the ball away or turned it over on downs each time. The Bulldogs’ next possession ended with a three-yard rushing touchdown and a 14-0 lead for Clarke County with 11:05 left in the second quarter.

The Eagles lost another fumble two snaps into their next series, and the Bulldogs ran it back for a 40-yard touchdown, increasing their lead to 20-0 with just over 10 minutes to play in the half.

The Eagles sustained a long drive, moving the ball all the way to the Bulldogs’ 26 yard line before turning it over on downs. Neal’s defense forced a three and out before the Eagles got on the scoreboard with a 40-yard run by sophomore Joe Carroll 1:19 before halftime, making the score 20-6.

The Bulldogs answered quickly with a 36-yard touchdown pass with only 13 seconds left on the clock, sending both teams to the locker room with Clarke County leading 26-6.

The Bulldogs received the kickoff to start the third quarter, eating 4 minutes off the clock and scoring on a 14-yard pass play. The Eagles would punt twice and the Bulldogs would punt once before the Dogs managed to get into the end zone again on a 31-yard run by EJ Norwood, moving the score to 39-6 with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles answered with a four-play drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown run by junior Ladarrius Harrison and a good PAT by sophomore Bryan Parker, decreasing the gap to 13-39 with 5:34 left to play.

On Clarke County’s next possession, Neal freshman Alex Alvarez recovered a fumble, but two plays later, Neal also fumbled, and the Bulldogs ran it in for one last touchdown with only 1:37 left in the fourth quarter. When the clock ran out on the game, Clarke County was on top 46-13.

Coach Williams sees promise in the future of this young team. “We’ve got to find a way to define ourselves. I know it’s getting monotonous, but we’re going to keep working and keep getting better as a group,” he said.

The Eagles finished with 220 yards of total offense, all rushing, while the Bulldogs had 247 yards on the ground and 63 yards in the air. Joe Carroll led the Eagle offense with 76 yards and one touchdown, followed by freshman Dashawn Smith with 47 yards.

This week, W.S. Neal will play a region game against Escambia County High School in Atmore. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m.