Photo: Gadsden City defenders, including Marlon Brasher (7), Tyron Tripp (21) and Jovari Sumpter (99), pursue James Clemens’ Aaron Boone during the Titan’s 50-28 loss in high school football on Oct. 5 at GCHS. (Courtesy of Travis Greene)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The good news for the Gadsden City High faithful last Friday (Oct. 5) was that the Titan offense exceeded 20 points for the first time since the season opener against Etowah.
The bad news? The GCHS defense allowed considerably more than that in a 50-28 loss to Class 7A Region 4 rival James Clemens in the Titans’ homecoming.
Gadsden City fell to 0-6 overall and 0-4 in region play, while the Jets improved to 4-2, 4-0.
The Jet offense had the hosts back on their heels for the better part of three quarters, as the visitors from Madison scored touchdowns off their first seven possessions for a 43-7 lead. James Clemens turned two GCHS turnovers into 14 points, both coming in the first half.
Gadsden City scored three touchdowns over the final five minutes – including a 99-yard kickoff return by Jamontez Woods- but the damage had been done to keep the Titans winless for the season.
Although GCHS head coach Bart Sessions was proud of his players for continuing to battle despite the discrepancy on the scoreboard, he was not pleased with the lack of discipline he saw periodically during the game.
“We make some very immature decisions at times and we have to learn to pay attention to every little detail. There’s a process to everything we do and we’ve got to learn that the process is important, even when we don’t necessarily understand why it’s important.”
Sessions further noted that a lack of size is no excuse in terms of a competitive edge.
“You can be undersized if you’ve got great passion, great effort and great discipline. At times we show the passion and effort, but I’m not always sure just how disciplined we are.”
The Jets finished with 435 yards of offense, with 246 of those yards coming from quarterback Jamil Muhammad. In a little over two quarters of action, the Vanderbilt University commitment completed 13 of 16 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 10 times for 106 yards and two scores.
Gadsden City quarterback Jamarcus Macon accounted for 218 of the Titans’ 261 total yards. He was 20 for 25 in passing for 151 yards and gained 68 rushing yards on 10 carries.
“I bet if you polled around the state, not many 7A football programs that have a sophomore starting at quarterback,” said Sessions. “Jamarcus is a typical young quarterback; he shows flashes of excitement on one play and is still learning some things on the next play. You’ve got to admire that kid’s charisma and guts when he’s out there competing. He’s going to be a great player for us.”
James Clemens wasted no time in taking the lead for good. The Jets capped off the game’s opening drive with Muhammad’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Austin McGhee and Jesse Lowe’s PAT.
The Titans responded with an 11-play, 70-yard series that ended with Carlos Flores’ 22-yard field goal. But the Jets were flagged for an offside penalty on the play, giving GCHS a first down at the JCHS 5. But Gadsden City elected to take the points off the board and try for a touchdown, and that decision proved costly three plays later when the Jets intercepted the ball at the 9.
The ensuing 19-play possession took more than eight minutes off the clock and resulted in Collin Malone’s 1-yard TD run.
The visitors went ahead 21-0 after the Jets turned a Titan turnover into McGhee’s 2-yard touchdown run at 6:50 of the second quarter.
Gadsden City answered with a seven-play drive that featured a 29-yard scramble by Macon that set up the hosts at the Jets 1, from where Woods scored up the middle. Flores pushed through the extra point to narrow the gap to 14 points with just under three minutes to go before halftime.
But James Clemens halted the GCHS momentum with Muhammad’s 1-yard TD run with 29 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Madison squad hit GCHS hard and fast in the third quarter, scoring three touchdowns in less than three minutes.
The Titans’ opening drive of second half ended with a three-and-out that gave the visitors the ball at the Gadsden City 29. Three plays later, tight end Trevor Hunziker threw a 22-yard halfback option pass to Dylan Blackburn for a touchdown to make it 34-7.
Matters grew worse for the hosts when a snap for a punt sailed out of the end zone for a safety and a 36-point deficit.
McGhee returned the ensuing free punt 40 yards to the GCHS 36, and the Jets soon cashed in on the good field position with Muhammad’s 23-yard touchdown pass to McGhee.
The Titans finally broke out midway through the fourth period.
Macon’s 33-yard pass to Woods helped set up the latter’s 1-yard touchdown run with 4:42 left.
After James Clemens responded with a 17-yard TD run from Dante Snodgrass, Woods gathered the following kickoff at the GCHS 1 and eluded any and all would-be Jet tacklers for the score at 3:57.
James Clemens then went three-and-out, and Gadsden City’s Calvin Williams recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown with 2:20 on the clock.
“I thought we came out early with pretty good intensity against the probable region champion, but a team like that will capitalize on every little mistake, and with us playing so many of the younger kids, those mistakes seemed to snowball as the game went on,” said Sessions. “But we showed some signs of life on the fourth quarter, and it wasn’t against a skeleton crew. That makes me very proud of our team, and we’re going to continue to develop and continue to grow closer as a team. The future’s bright here.”
Gadsden City continues region play this Friday (Oct. 12) at home against Florence.