By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
“I’m proud of our guys; we’re really banged up but found a way to win tonight.”
Such were the words of Etowah High School head football coach Drew Noles following the Blue Devil’s 61-41 victory over the Arabian Knights of Arab High School on Friday (Sept. 30) in Attalla.
Senior quarterback Daulton Hyatt threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in the key Class 5A, Region 7 game at Jim Glover Field.
The Blue Devils, who are 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the region after their sixth straight victory, led 34-20 after three quarters of play. Etowah took control in the fourth quarter as the game turned into an shootout. There was not a punt by either team until the fourth quarter.
Etowah converted two fourth down plays in its opening drive, setting up Hyatt’s 20 yard touchdown pass to Emil Smith with 4:41 left in the first period.
Arab returned the kickoff to midfield, then pulled within a point on Andrew Hudson’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Norris with 4:03 left in the quarter, as the PAT failed.
The Arabian Knights took their only lead of the night at 13-7 after an Etowah fumble. Hudson passed 40 yards to Adam Wright to the Blue Devil 6-yard line, and Will Spencer scored from the 3 with a minute left in the quarter.
Andy Noles ran four yards for a touchdown and caught a 14-yard pass from Hyatt for another score to account for Etowah’s 20-13 halftime margin.Cory Thomas converted fourth down runs in each of the drives.
John Brazelton’s 48-yard run to the Blue Devil 2 set up Hudson’s keeper for a touchdown as Arab tied the score 30 seconds into the third quarter.
Hyatt then passed 40 yards to Thomas and 32 yards to Noles for touchdowns as Etowah took a 34-20 lead into the final period.
Jamin Graham blocked and recovered the game’s only punt in the Arab end zone as the Blue Devils built a 41-20 margin with 11:34 left in the game.
But Arab made it 41-27 with nine minutes left, as Brazelton scored from the Etowah 7.
Hyatt, however, ran 11 yards to the end zone to put Etowah up 47-27 with 7:27 left.
Arab added two late touchdowns – the first on Hudson’s 18-yard scoring pass to Josh Watson and the second on Hudson’s three-yard keeper – but it was too little and too late to slow down the Blue Devils.
Etowah added an 11-yard Hyatt TD run and a 22-yard scoring run by Caleb Horton to close out the scoring.
Etowah rushed the ball 43 times for 339 yard while amassing 626 yards in total offense
Hyatt was 17 of 23 passing for 287 yards. Thomas led the Etowah ground game with 174 yards on 18 carries. Horton added 51 yards rushing on five carries.
Noles caught six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
Horton led Etowah in tackles with eight, followed by Lovell Cylar, Carter Dingler and Robert Warren-Romine with six each. Justin Harris had an interception.
Hudson was 7 of 13 in passing for 168 yards while rushing six times for 98 yards. Brazelton finished with 169 rushing yards on 19 carries.
“I can breath a sigh of relief that this one is over,” said Drew Noles.
Etowah faces region rival Boaz in a homecoming matchup this week. Next in line is Crossville and then a showdown with Scottsboro.