Photo: Etowah High’s Davion Robison (25) gains yardage as Boaz’s Lorenzo Goss pursues during the Blue Devils’ 49-7 victory last Friday (Oct. 26) in Attalla. (Travis Greene)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The Etowah High School football team has come a long way since an 82-0 victory over Oneonta in 1912.
In addition to securing a second straight region title and first undefeated regular season since 1999, the Blue Devils’ 49-7 victory over Class 5A, Region 7 rival Boaz last Friday (Oct. 26) produced the school’s 600th victory.
After a well-deserved bye this week, Etowah (10-0, 6-0) host Guntersville in the first round of the state playoffs on Nov. 9.
Other than allowing a second-quarter touchdown and couple of long runbacks on kickoff returns, the hosts dominated the Pirates (7-3, 4-2) from start to finish. The Blue Devil offense rolled up 410 total yards while scoring touchdowns on its first seven possessions. The Etowah defense was its usual stingy self, giving up only four non-penalty first downs. Boaz managed only 131 yards in offense, with just 62 coming on the ground. The Blue Devils have now surrendered only six touchdowns in their last nine games while posting four shutouts, beating the opposition by an average score of 34 to 6.
“I thought we came out and played hard and executed well,” said Etowah head coach Drew Noles. “We’ve been playing better offensively, and the defense played very well against a good offensive team. We’ve gotten better all year, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
In just one half of action, Etowah sophomore running back Trent Davis ran six times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Ny Ny Davis added 50 yards and a TD on three carries.
Brady Troup was an efficient 10 for 13 in passing for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Emil Smith caught three passes for 41 yards.
After the visitors came up with zero yards in three plays on the game’s opening possession, a poor punt set up the hosts at the Pirate 49-yard line.
A 23-yard scamper by Trent Davis helped bring the ball to the 8, from where Emil Smith took it into the end zone. Eric Edge, who was a perfect 7-for-7 on extra points, pushed through the PAT for the early lead at 9:50 of the first quarter.
A third-down sack by Carter Dingler on the next Pirate series was followed by a 50-yard punt return by Smith to the Boaz 14. On the next play, Troup found Deaundrea Williams for the score and a 14-point lead.
Later in the quarter, Troup completed a short pass to Ollie Finch at midfield, from where the sophomore speedster took it to the house to make it 21-0.
A sack on third down by linebacker Jarren Wright on the next Boaz series led to another Pirate punt and then a nifty 50-yard touchdown run by Trent Davis. With Edge’s PAT, the hosts led 28-0 in the final minute of the initial period.
A 43-yard run by Christian Collins on the next possession set up the visitors inside the Etowah 10. But the series came to an abrupt halt when Justin Harris intercepted the ball at the 1. The ensuing 11-play series took almost six minutes off the clock and was capped by Phillips’ three-yard touchdown run.
The Pirates finally answered when Taylor Smith made a nice one-handed catch of an Easton Hardin pass just inside the Etowah goal line. Gerardo Baeza’s extra point trimmed the Blue Devil advantage to 35-7 at the 4:42 mark of the second period.
The hosts responded on the following possession. Troup’s 30-yard pass to Trent Davis and a 15-yard penalty on Boaz set up Ny Ny Davis’ 25-yard touchdown run, sending the hosts into the locker room ahead 42-7.
Most of the Etowah starters headed to the sideline after the initial possession of the second half, a drive that was polished off by Hunter Cox’s 1-yard touchdown run at 5:43 of the third quarter.
The final three Boaz drives ended in two failed fourth down conversion attempts and a fumble that was recovered by Emil Smith.
Collins finished with 73 rushing yards on 17 carries. Bronson Smith completed 5 of 12 passes for 69 yards.
“To have the opportunity to be 10-0 is huge for our program,” said Noles. “We’ve been saying that you can’t be 10-0 without being 5-0 or 6-0, so I’m pleased with the fact that we’ve been taking it one game at a time. We’ve had some tough games this year, so honestly, I’m ecstatic about it. In my 28 years of coaching, I’ve never been a part of a 10-0 team, so I’m proud for our players, coaches, school and community.”