Two forced fumbles, a critical interception and five sacks highlighted a dominant defensive performance for the Spanish Fort Toros in a 35-14 win over Class 6A, Region 1 rival McGill-Toolen.
The Yellow Jackets scored on their last full drive of the first half and on their final offensive play of the game long after the outcome had been decided. Otherwise, the Toros looked every bit like a team that is expected to again compete for a state championship.
“This was the best week of practice we’ve had all year and it showed on the field,” said Spanish Fort coach Ben Blackmon. “I was so proud of our positive energy all week and our ability to meet the challenge. We knew we couldn’t give up the home run to a very explosive offense.”
McGill-Toolen star running back Braylon McReynolds, a recent South Alabama commitment, continued to impress. The senior finished with 143 yards on 23 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.
But by that point, the Toros had already built a 21-0 lead on touchdown runs of 10 yards by quarterback Brendon Byrd, and 19 and 38 yards by Johnny Morris. Two minutes after McReynolds’ touchdown, Byrd hit Cam Jackson for a 34-yard touchdown pass and a 28-7 halftime lead.
Spanish Fort did not have a first down in the first 16 minutes of the second half. But the defense made sure it wasn’t needed. An interception by Tishun Calvin ended a drive that could have gotten the Yellow Jackets back in contention.
Key to the game: Spanish Fort had two touchdown drives that lasted only one play each. A sack and forced fumble by Avery Wilson was recovered by sophomore Cole McConathy. Byrd scored on the next play midway through the first quarter. After a completed pass by McGill, Spanish Fort’s Andre Hunt made a big hit to force a fumble, which was recovered by Jabrel Snowden. Morris ran 38 yards for a touchdown on the next play for a 21-0 lead.
Stat of the game: Morris scored two touchdowns in the span of 52 second early in the second quarter on runs of 19 and 38 yards.
By the numbers: 132 – Yards rushing for Morris. He finished with three touchdowns on only nine carries. Byrd rushed for 56 yards on 10 carries, while Aaron Threat rushed for 92 yards on nine carries.
Coachspeak: “We knew we were facing a great back, and we answered the challenge. We knew we had to concentrate on not giving up the home run.” -- Blackmon.
They said it: “We were really working to build a wall on defense,” said McConathy, a defensive end who converted from quarterback. “We worked hard every day this week to make sure we contained their elite speed. Nobody works harder than us.”
What’s next? McGill-Tololen (6-3) will finish the regular season at Dothan before opening the playoffs on the road. Spanish Fort (8-1) will visit Daphne to finish the regular season before hosting a first-round playoff game.
Source : https://www.al.com/highschoolsports/2021/10/spanish-fort-gets-defensive-downs-mcgill-toolen-to-earn-1st-round-home-game.html607