Thrilling games, tough losses, talk of playoffs

Published 10:13 am Monday, October 16, 2023

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Thursday night the Fort Dale Eagle’s traveled to Bessemer Academy and defeated the Rebels in a thrilling game 28-27. The McKenzie Tiger’s hosted Florala for their Homecoming and lost in a close game 34-36. The Georgiana Panther’s fell to Elba Friday night 6-38, ending their five week shutout streak. 

Fort Dale Academy:

The Eagle’s game against Bessemer was the team’s first victory against the Rebels since 2012. Head Coach Eric Folmar said he emphasized all week to the players that it would be a four quarter ball game against the Rebels and that the Bessemer team would give it their best.  

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“To be able to win the game the way we did was huge for our guys,” Folmar said. “We’ve struggled to finish those types of ball games in the past. It’s been a long time since we’ve won up there. We’ve crossed a lot of items off the list this season and that was a big one.”

The coach added that this win secured the Eagle’s the third seed for the playoffs, at the least, with a chance for second seed if the team defeats Lee Scott Academy next week. 

Joseph Ealum No. 24 scored the first touchdown with a two-yard run. Quarterback No. 6 Ethan Alford got in the end zone twice with a two-yard and five-yard touchdown run, and threw a successful six-yard pass to No. 1 Alan Alvarez for a touchdown. The game was won with a successful two-point conversion in the final moments of the game. 

Folmar said Alford stepped up big time Friday night. 

“He did a lot of damage with his legs but also made a couple of clutch throws, including the game winner to Alan,” Folmar said. “Big time players make big time plays in big time games, and he certainly did that.”

Alford said the team is excited for what’s to come. 

“It meant a lot as a team to go up there and get a big road win,” Alford said. “It’s what we needed to secure a home playoff game so we are all excited about that.”

Georgiana High School:

Head coach Berry Bess said Elba was a good football team with good players and said the loss was also due to multiple mistakes made by the Panthers. 

“Elba was able to get going early and capitalized on some mistakes we made,” Bess said. “We shot ourselves in the foot multiple times and it ended up hurting us in the long run. We will return to work this week and focus on Red Level.”

Despite the Panthers loss this week there is exciting news for senior running back No. 3 Jacquese Abner, who has received an offer to continue his football career at Huntingdon College in Montgomery this coming year. 

Bess said he is proud of Abner and of the team’s resilience this season. He added that he’s ready to see what the Panthers are made of in the upcoming games now that the player’s have faced some adversity.

“If we win out, we will be the second seed in our region and host the first round of the playoffs,” Bess said.  “We still have a lot to play for as you do not have to win the region to win state. Of course, we want to win them all, but sometimes the ball just rolls a different way.”

The team’s only touchdown of the game was made by a 74-yard pass from No. 10 Jacobie Morgan to No. 5. Demetrius Watson. Friday the Panthers will travel to Red Level in their next-to-last game of the season. 

McKenzie High School:

McKenzie celebrated Homecoming with a parade and an eventful pep rally full of Tiger spirit. Head Coach Brian Bradford said it was a tough loss, but that the McKenzie players put their whole hearts into the game and never gave up. 

“Florala has a really good football team and Coach Cantrell did a good job getting his team prepared to play,” Bradford said. “In the end, we made a few mistakes that we couldn’t overcome and it cost us. This loss will make it a lot harder for us to get in the playoffs but we will take it one game at a time and continue to work to become the best team that we can be.”

McKenzie Quarterback No. 2 Jaylen McMillian completed 15 out of his 31 passes for 330 yards during the game, and threw three touchdown passes to No. 11 Jay Jackson for 52-yards, No. 10 Clayton Martin for 59-yards and to No. 1 Skyler Sanders for 71-yards. Johnny Davison No. 7 got in the end zone twice with a 52-yard and five-yard touchdown run.  

The Tigers will face Kinston Friday for the team’s last home game of the season.