Straughn rallies past Red Level (Throwback Thursday)

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 20, 2015


Editor’s note: This article is part of our “Throwback Thursday” series. This article is from our Aug. 20, 2005 files.


After a scoreless first half, Straughn rallied from a 7-0 deficit to earn a 12-7 win against Red Level in a preseason high school football game.


The game was a “hybrid” football contest with the starters for both teams playing in the first and third quarters. The second stringers played in the second and fourth quarters.


Red Level scored the only points of the game when the starters for both squads were on the field.


Red Level went on top 7-0 with 10:10 left in the third quarter. Josh Stroud scored the touchdown for Red Level falling on a fumbled snap off the hands of the Straughn punter. Princeton Ryce tacked on the PAT.


Straughn scored all of its points in the fourth quarter when Ryne Taylor scored on a quarterback draw and Casey Teel raced 26 yards to pay dirt.


The game was a preseason affair, but due to the rivalry between the two clubs there was no doubt that both sides wanted to win. It showed with big plays by the Red Level Tigers and Straughn.


The teams exchanged interceptions in the first quarter of play. Red Level’s Taylor Wright got the first turnover of the night when he picked off a Straughn pass.


Straughn’s Trevor Driver returned the favor when he intercepted a pass later in the quarter.


The defenses for both squads shined in the first half leading to a scoreless tie after two quarters of play.


Red Level’s defense remained strong in the third period when it backed up the Straughn offense. Straughn faced a fourth-and-30 situation early in the third quarter and elected to punt. The ball never found the punter’s foot when the snapped ball slipped through his hands before being recovered in the end zone by Red Level’s Josh Stroud for a touchdown. Princeton Ryce added the PAT and Red Level was on top 7-0.


Straughn attempted a quick answer. The SHS Tigers were marching down field and picked up steam when senior quarterback Alphonso Freeney found Thomas Sport on a pass play for a 43-yard pick up. The drive came to an end a few plays later when Ranaldo Crittenden picked off a pass at the goal line.


Straughn threatened again later in the third quarter when back-up quarterback Ryne Taylor found D’Andre Lee across the middle for a completion. Lee fumbled the ball and Straughn’s Malcolm Jones fell on it to keep the drive alive.


Straughn moved down to Red Level’s 5-yard line when disaster struck. Two incomplete passes followed by a sack backed Straughn up to the 20-yard line for a fourth-and-20 situation with 1.5 seconds left in the third quarter. Straughn went for the end zone, but the pass fell incomplete.


Straughn rebounded to outscore Red Level 12-0 in the fourth quarter. Running back Casey Teel played a big role in the offense with more than one big run. Ross Parker also stepped up big with a big catch on the first scoring drive capped off by Ryne Taylor’s quarterback draw.


The second score was set up by the defense when Trenton Driver dove on a loose ball just before it danced out of bounds. The fumble recovery gave Straughn excellent field position at the 23-yard line. Two plays later, Casey Teel scored on a 26-yard touchdown run for a 12-6 Straughn lead.


The two teams exchanged turnovers in the final two minutes of action with Straughn holding on for the win.


After the game, Red Level head coach Clint McCory was pleased with his players’ effort while Straughn head coach Trent Taylor was upset.


“When it comes to effort, I can’t ask for anything more,” McCory said after the loss. “But, we made enough mistakes on both sides of the ball tonight to lose. You get that with young kids in there, but they got in there and got some game experience.


There were a bunch of white (Red Level) jerseys who got after some folks tonight,” McCory added, “I’m proud of that.”


Taylor was just happy it wasn’t a regular season game.


“I’m glad it was the fall jamboree,” Taylor said after the win.


He said his Tigers struggled against the heat and never go “in sync” during the game. He also pointed to some miscommunication on special teams that hindered his squad.


“It’s hard for it to feel like a win right now,” Taylor said about 30 minutes after the game. “The effort was there, but for this team to be successful we have to have an adjustment in some attitudes.”


Straughn begin the regular season Thursday night with a home game against Class 4A Andalusia Bulldogs. Andalusia fell to Dothan in preseason action this past Thursday night.


Red Level opens the season at home against Goshen next Friday night.