Published 7:28 pm Saturday, September 13, 2014

0913 spt-fhs

Florala quarterback Avery McNeil drops back for a pass during last night’s game against Red Level. | Josh Dutton/Star-News

Florala topples Red Level, 40-28

It was a strong effort Friday night in Red Level from both the Red Level Tigers and the Florala Wildcats, but it was ultimately Austin West and the Wildcats’ night topping the Tigers 40-28.

“We came out and played well then we looked like we might have gotten a little complacent in the second quarter, but you have to give Red Level credit they played really good, and I’m very proud of the way our guys finished tonight,” Florala head coach Brad Rhodes said.

FHS jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, with Brandon Russell scoring the first touchdown on a 5-yard run. The second touchdown came from a heads up play by FHS wide receiver Ray Hall, who picked up a fumble from Chandler Holmes and took it the end zone from 20 yards out.

Thanks to some good defense and 154 yards rushing and a touchdown in the second quarter for RLHS sophomore Jonathan Lee the Tigers nearly tied the game up at halftime, but a failed two-point conversion left them trailing 14-12 at the half. Lee’s touchdown came on a 90-yard run, where he beat the defense to the corner then turned on the jets down the sideline. RLHS managed another score in the first half, when Dylan Jordan threw a quick strike to Jeffery Purdue who bulldozed his way into the end zone with 5 seconds left in the first half.

FHS opened up the second half just as strong scoring two quick touchdowns in the third quarter. The first was came on the opening drive of the second half with Avery McNeill capping off a 67-yard drive with a 5-yard yard scramble for the touchdown. West found the end zone for the first time on the night as he blew by the RLHS punt team for a 50-yard punt return touchdown.

West got his second touchdown a few drives later going in from 7-yards out after setting himself up with a 34-yard run on the previous play giving the Wildcats a 34-12 lead.

RLHS wasn’t giving up though, and fought tooth-and-nail until the very end. After a 24-yard touchdown catch by Perdue and a successful two-point conversion, the Tigers began to close the gap. Following a quick three-and-out forced by the RLHS defense, the offense got in the end zone again with Lee getting another long score. This time, going 75 yards on a swing pass. The Tigers added the two-point conversion, but failed to recover the onside kick attempt.

The RLHS defense made another three-and-out, giving their offense another chance to score. But with just over 30 seconds left, Lee fumbled and the Wildcats’ West recovered the fumble and took it the end zone for the final score.

West ended the night with 109 yards on 16 carries as well as 12 tackles, two recovered fumbles, a defensive touchdown, a punt return touchdown, and a rushing touchdown.

“We played a little sloppy and turned to ball over to much,” said RLHS head coach David Godwin, “ We were short handed tonight missing four starters so I’m proud of the way the guys played, they never gave up,” Godwin said.

Florala heads to McIntosh next Friday and Red Level will travel to Brantley.