By Lionel Green/Sand Mountain Reporter
Albertville did not back down from eighth-ranked Gadsden City last Friday (Sept. 21), and for nearly three quarters the Aggies flirted with a major upset.
But two turnovers in the last 1:18 of the third quarter snuffed out their hopes for the upset as the Titans won 35-7 in Class 6A, Region 7 varsity football action at Aggie Stadium.
Down 14-7 and with the ball late in the third, the Aggies advanced to the 32-yard line on a 25-yard burst by Parker Poole.
But an Aggie fumble on the next play was picked up by Blake Worthy and carried 32 yards to the end zone for a 21-7 Titan lead with 1:18 left in the third.
Albertville never recovered from the sudden shift in momentum.
On the Aggies’ next drive, Tray Smothers intercepted a pass by quarterback Dalton Williams with seven seconds remaining in the third. Two minutes later, Titan quarterback C.J. Moore lofted a 46-yard scoring bomb to LaGerald Malone, giving Gadsden City a 28-7 lead with 10:07 left in the game.
Chris Lawrence capped the scoring with a 71-yard touchdown sprint at the 7:04 mark.
The key defensive play of the game for Albertville was a fumble recovery at the 5-yard line by Andrew Gunnells with 9:03 left in the third quarter. It stopped a Titan drive and kept Albertville within a touchdown.
Albertville opened the game with a 14-play, 88-yard drive. Williams completed 4-of-10 passes for 55 yards and rushed three times for 16 yards on the possession. He converted a fourth-and-3 with a 20-yard run and snuck his way into the end zone from 1 yard out on fourth down. Victor Zavala’s extra point gave the Aggies a 7-0 advantage with 7:13 remaining in the first quarter.
Later in the first, Darion Adkison intercepted a Williams pass, setting up the Titans at the Aggie 8-yard line. Lawrence followed with a five-yard scoring run to knot the game at 7-7 with 2:40 left in the first.
The second quarter was a defensive battle, but the Titans struck right before intermission. Moore hit Malone in the back of the end zone on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left to send Gadsden City into halftime up 14-7.
The loss dropped Albertville to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the region after back-to-back weeks facing top 10 teams. Last week, the Aggies lost to No. 2 Clay-Chalkville, 52-7.
The Titans (4-0, 3-0) compiled 446 total yards, including 288 on the ground. The Aggie defense held Gadsden City to just 48 yards rushing in the first half.
Lawrence led all rushers with 164 yards on 12 carries.
Trevor Sandridge added 113 yards on 16 rushes.
Moore was 7-of-10 passing for 158 yards.
Gadsden City hosts third-ranked Auburn on Friday in a non-region game.