Strength in sight

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Florala senior quarterback Austin McNeill scored three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns during last week’s 52-26 victory over Central Hayneville. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Florala QB Austin McNeill selected as Player of Week

Austin McNeill grasps the weight bar with earnest concentration, and within two seconds, he hoists it over his head.

The senior Florala quarterback used this same concentration and power in his stellar game against Central Hayneville last week to earn The Andalusia Star-News’ Player of the Week honors.

McNeill threw for two touchdowns and rushed for three against the Lions as the Wildcats went on to win 52-26. He racked up more than 170 yards and the Wildcats’ first touchdown of the regular season came on McNeill’s first scoring pass.

When asked how he accomplished quite a feat, McNeill gave all the credit to his teammates.

“I had good blocking on the line,” he said. “I just had to trust my eyes and make good reads, and my line did a great job of blocking for the passing, and then bringing me on my runs.”

On his passing attack, McNeill said he found receiver John Bess twice and Ray Hall once.

He said it felt great to be able to complete the passes.

“It felt good,” McNeill said. “It felt really good, getting out on the end and seeing my receivers when I was running.”

The senior quarterback has been an integral part of the Wildcats football team during his time at FHS.

As each game comes and goes, McNeill said he’s becoming more comfortable with doing his job on the field.

“I’m seeing well with the offense,” he said. “If I just continue to trust my eyes as the season goes on, it’ll only get better.”

FHS head football coach Justin Jones said McNeill made great decisions for the Wildcats against the Lions.

“That’s the kind of thing that we’ve been working on with him – decision making,” Jones said. “He got some quality time in the game and that, to run our type of offense, that’s what it’s all about, decision making and making the right decision all of the time.

“(McNeill) is a good boy, and he works hard,” he said.

This week, McNeill will have to put all of last week’s accolades behind him as his team prepares to face Geneva County on the road in region play.

McNeill said he’s excited about the game.

“It’s a real big game,” he said. “They’re going to be good, but we’ve got a good team going out there and playing them. It should be a good game.

“We definitely have a chance to win,” he said.

Additionally, McNeill said putting a complete game together is essential this week. The Wildcats have had to have good second halves to beat Rocky Bayou, Fla., during their jamboree game, and CHHS last week.

“We’ll definitely have to play the first half like we’ve been playing the second half,” he said.

McNeill is the son of Lisa and Archie McNeill.

Opp’s Onterrio Jones was the honorable mention for The Star-News’ Player of the Week award. Jones scored two TDs to help lead the Bobcats to a 21-20 victory over then top-ranked Elba last week.