13 players benched

Published 1:12 am Saturday, September 8, 2012

Straughn quarterback Chase Short was among the players who were sidelined after a fight erupted in the game. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn held on late to beat W.S. Neal 36-30 despite four of its players being thrown out of the game for fighting on Friday night at SHS Tigers Stadium.

With 3.6 seconds left in the third quarter, both benches cleared and players started going at each other.

SHS starting quarterback Chase Short, who was one of the players ejected, seemed to have been caught in the mix of the fight at the wrong time.

Tigers head football coach Trent Taylor said he still wasn’t sure the officials, who met for more than 15 minutes deciding on team penalties for both sides, got it all right.

“I’m just real, real disappointed in those kids coming off the bench,” Taylor said. “Still, I’m not real sure they got all of that right.

“I don’t know what Chase could’ve done differently,” he said.

Events leading up to the fight at midfield began shortly after W.S. Neal’s Trevor Burns was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct foul.

Burns was one of nine WSN players who were ejected from the game.

After play resumed, it seemed to have lit a fire under the Eagles.

WSN trailed 36-14 after Short scored on a 1-yard touchdown rush with 3.6 left in the third and the Eagles went on to score two touchdowns on an 81-yard scamper from senior running back Marquese Banks and a 31-yard TD rush by Josiah Nettles to bring the game to within a touchdown.

However, Straughn’s defense stepped up late after a WSN onside kick recovery with less than three minutes to go.

Tigers junior Nick Stepp, who made a couple of great plays for SHS, sacked Banks for a 7-yard loss to give the Eagles one more chance on a 4th-and-18 play.

Three Eagles possessions earlier, Straughn’s Jordan Newman got the Tigers’ defense fired up again on a sack for a 5-yard loss to spurt the late surge.

On the SHS 39, WSN quarterback Dylan Godwin hurled a Hail Mary to the right side, but the ball landed out of bounds and the Tigers got the ball on downs to seal the win.

With this victory, Straughn improves to 1-1 overall, and 1-0 in Class 3A, Region 1.

“We’re excited to be 1-0 in the region, I can tell you that right now,” Taylor said.

From the start of Friday night’s contest, the Tigers were in complete control of the game, as their defense forced a three and out.

On Straughn’s first possession, Short rushed down the field 65 yards and then punched the ball in from the 1 to give the Tigers an early 7-0 lead with the extra point.

WSN tried a fake punt play on its next possession, but the Tigers sniffed it out to get the ball back on downs.

Nigel Byrd, Devin Scott and Daryl George traded carries on the Tigers’ next offensive possession to put SHS on the WSN 8 yard line.

After a time out, Short punched the ball in from eight yards with 4:48 left in the first quarter. Short led the Tigers in rushing by two yards over Scott, with 144 yards on 14 carries and three TDS.

The PAT was no good, but SHS led 13-0.

Straughn’s defense sullied any offense the Eagles were vying for and got the ball back to end the quarter

Stepp’s first great play for the Tigers’ defense came with less than nine minutes left in the first half on an interception from the WSN 29 yard line.

With the ball back, the Tigers added their third touchdown of the half on a 5-yard rush from Byrd, who finished the night with 10 yards on eight carries.

A slurry of penalties by WSN on the Eagles’ next possession and a decent drive down field, Banks rushed in from 2 yards for a TD with 2:24 left in the first half.

With time ticking away and just past the red zone, Short launched a field goal 43 yards to give the Tigers a 22-6 advantage at half time.

“We didn’t play well in the first half. I think we got a little too excited,” WSN head football coach Doug Hoehn said. “I think that comes from us not being used to winning. We had a good win last week and we came into this game a little too hyped up.”

The third quarter started the exact opposite of how it ended.

After a 3-yard loss by Short, Scott took the ball 74 yards to the house to put the Tigers up big at 11:06.

A few possessions later, Short threw his only interception and the Eagles took advantage, scoring on a 46-yard TD rush from Quinton Samuels.

The Tigers put their final score on the board on Short’s 1-yard scamper before the fight erupted.

“Penalties did us in tonight,” Hoehn said. “There is no way you can win a football game with that many penalties. There is just no way. It just seemed like a huge amount of penalties to me. That was the most penalties I have ever had on my team in all my years of coaching. So, I am proud of the kid’s effort. We will work on handling adversity a little better and we are going to take this as a team and grow up some.”

Banks rushed 175 yards on 16 carries and had one TD to lead the Eagles. Scott had two receptions for 27 yards.

SHS visits Southside Selma next week to continue in region action.