Photo: Etowah High’s Davian Smith (27) and Dalton Robison (17) converge on Scottsboro’s Jacob Manning during the Blue Devils’ 47-27 win over Scottsboro on Oct. 27. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Etowah High capped its regular season and extended its winning streak to eight games with a 47-27 Class 5A, Region 7 victory over Scottsboro last Friday (Oct. 27) in Attalla.
The Blue Devils (9-1, 7-0) jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead before holding off a late Wildcat rally down the stretch.
The win was Etowah’s 14 straight in regular season action.
The Blue Devil defense dominated the visitors over the fist two quarter in limiting Scottsboro (4-5, 3-4) to minus-3 total yards and two first downs, one of those coming as a result of a penalty.
“We did put our [starters] back in at the end because [Scottsboro] was scoring a little bit on us, but I never felt like the [lead] was in any kind of trouble,” said Etowah head coach Drew Noles. “We didn’t play clean all night and we had some mistakes we hadn’t been making, but I thought our defense played great in the first half. I thought that (freshman quarterback) Brady [Troup] did a great job of controlling the offense in the second half.”
For Etowah, Cory Thomas rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while Caleb Horton ran four times for 41 yards and a score.
DeRicky Wright was 3-for-4 in passing for 74 yards and two touchdowns, while Troup threw for a 29-yard touchdown pass.
For the game, the Blue Devils held a 257 to 138 advantage in total yards.
After going three-and-out on their first two possessions of the game, the hosts opened the scoring on Horton’s 2-atrd TD run up the middle at 3:50 of the first quarter.
Fifteen seconds later, NyNy Davis picked off a Wildcat pass and took it 25 yards to the house, but the score was nullified by a penalty.
The Wildcats then went three-and-out, and on the fist play of the ensuing Etowah drive Thomas took off down the left sideline for a 57-yard touchdown and a 12-0 lead with 1:40 left in the opening period. The extra point was blocked, but the Blue Devil defense made up for that miscue when defensive end Alex Howard sacked Scottsboro quarterback Hatton Metz for a safety and a 14-point EHS advantage.
Wright’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Emil Smith pushed the Blue Devil lead to 21-0 at the 7:19 mark of the second quarter.
On the next Etowah series, Wright and DeAundrea Williams connected for a 43-yard TD pass.
Howard made another big play with 2:03 left before the half when he recovered a Scottsboro fumble in the end zone to provide the hosts with a 35-0 lead.
The bottom seemed to fall out on Scottsboro when on the second play of the second half, Davis intercepted a Wildcat pass and took it 25 yards to the house for a 41-0 lead.
The Wildcats went three-and-out on their next possession, and with Metz sidelined with an injury from late in the first half, head coach Don Jacobs changed things up.
Operating out of the Wildcat formation with 4:49 to go on the third quarter, running back Jacob Manning ran eight straight times for 44 yards, the last rush for a 5-yard touchdown with 1:26 left in the period.
The Scottsboro defense then forced a three-and-out, and Manning returned the punt 35 yards to the Blue Devil 17. Five plays later, Manning ran it n from six yards out to close the gap to 41-13.
Etowah responded with Troup’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Smith with 6:22 left in the game, but on the next play from scrimmage, Manning zigged and zagged through the Blue Devil defense for a 74-yard TD run.
After forcing another three-and-out, the Wildcats blocked the punt, and Richard Haynes caught at the 20-yard line and ran it in for the score to draw the visitors within 47-27 with 3:38 on the clock.
Etowah recovered the onside kick, however, and Scottsboro never got the ball back.
The Wildcats outgained Etowah 135 to 115 over the final 12 minutes. Manning accounted for 106 of those yards on 12 carries.
“We shouldn’t have been down 35-0 at halftime, but it is what it is,” said Jacobs. “But the kids kept playing hard, and that’s all I was looking for. We’re still learning and we’re still growing, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Etowah has an open date this week before hosting Pleasant Grove in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
“We did sub a lot after halftime, especially on offense,” said Noles. “We wanted to get some guys some game experience and also wanted to get of [the game] as healthy as we could.”