Pleasant Home wins closer 39-14

Published 1:51 am Saturday, October 25, 2008

After coming up short on fourth-and-goal at the end of the first half, the Pleasant Home Eagles needed a spark to carry them through the second half. It didn’t take them long to find it.

Senior Dominek Sims returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a 75-yard touchdown, helping spark the Eagles to a 39-14 road victory in Pleasant Home’s final game of the season.

“Our defense has definitely been the bright spot of our season,” said Pleasant Home coach Robert Bradford, whose team finished with a 4-5 record overall and 2-5 in Class 1A, Region 2. “We have four seniors who all play defense and they really sparked us tonight.”

Pleasant Home held a 12-7 lead over Florala (1-7, 1-6) late in the second quarter as the Eagles were driving. The Eagles faced a fourth-and-goal from Florala’s 7-yard-line with 5.1 seconds remaining, but Florala’s defense held and tackled C.J. Langley short of the goal line as time ran out.

“I was really proud of our guys tonight,” Florala coach Stan Gooden said. “They put together some stops tonight and obviously had the big one at the end of the first half to keep (Pleasant Home) out of the end zone. The scoreboard might not show it, but I thought our kids played with a lot of effort tonight and that’s something that has been missing our last few games.”

On the opening kickoff of the second half, Sims took the kick from the Pleasant Home 25-yard-line and followed his blocks down the left sideline. He juked a defender before breaking clear for the touchdown. Syd Newby added the two-point conversion and the Eagles led 20-7 just 14 seconds into the third quarter.

Sims had a prolific night for the Eagles, also scoring a rushing touchdown and returning a fumble for a score. It was bittersweet for Sims, who is one of four seniors who played his last game in a Pleasant Home uniform.

“I almost wish we had a few more games still to play,” he said. “(On the opening kickoff), I saw a lot of open field and just ran as hard as I could. I knew I wanted to score that touchdown.”

The Eagles broke onto the scoreboard in the first quarter when Langley scored on a 5-yard run. The extra point was blocked as Pleasant Home led 6-0.

The Wildcats responded with a quick drive of their own, as quarterback Zach Fleming did all the work. Fleming ran for 54 yards on the first play of the drive and then scored on a 9-yard run one play later. Florala’s extra point was good as the Wildcats took their only lead of the night, 7-6.

Ethan King completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Cory Sims with 4:40 left in the second quarter to put the Eagles in front again, 12-7.

Pleasant Home added four more touchdowns in the second half to break away. Sims scored on a 75-yard touchdown return, 75-yard fumble return and 1-yard run. Dillon Roland also had an 11-yard touchdown.

Florala added its final score of the game when Brock Goodwin scored on a 2-yard run with 5:03 left.

The Wildcats remain at home next Friday as they host Rocky Bayou Christian Academy of Niceville, Fla., for homecoming.

“We’re still a young team and we made some mistakes tonight that young teams make,” Gooden said. “We’re going to work this week to get ready for Rocky Bayou and hopefully end the season on a good note.”

Gooden lauded the play of his quarterback Fleming, who finished with 19 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown.

“Zach made some plays for us tonight,” Gooden said. “I think the future is really bright with this program, we just have to keep working hard.”