Pleasant Homes snaps 17-game losing streak
Pleasant Home (1-8) snapped a 17-game losing streak last night with a win against in-county foe Florala (1-7). Going into the game both teams knew there was no hope for a playoff berth. “I know in the eyes of many it wasn’t a big game, but for us it was a huge game,” said Eagles coach Chris Mason. A balanced offense and ball-hawking defense led his Eagles to a dominating 45-20 win over the Wildcats despite a slew of their own mistakes.
On the very first play of the game Florala quarterback Avery McNeill fumbled and just a few plays later Pleasant Home cashed in the turnover when running back Reid Adams scored his first of three touchdowns on the night from 20 yards out. Adams followed up by scoring the two-point conversion as well. Adams scored on runs of 20, 2, and 11 yards on his way to 110 yards of total offense.
On Florala’s second drive the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs at their own 9-yard line when a snap went over the punter’s head on fourth down. Running back DJ Veasey capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown and Adams converted his second two-point conversion to give the Eagles the early 16-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff Florala’s Leroy Mitchell briefly electrified the home crowd with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion the Wildcats cut the Pleasant Home lead to 16-6. However the Eagles would quickly dash the Florala hopes when receiver Garrett Barton took a reverse 31 yards inside the Florala 20-yard line. Adams would score a few plays later and another converted two-point conversion gave Pleasant Home a 24-6 lead.
Florala’s McNeill attempted to strike back on the ensuing drive, completing a long pass to receiver Trey Burleson inside the Eagle 20-yard line. The Pleasant Home defense managed to hold, though, and on fourth down defensive back Blaine Short intercepted a McNeill pass. Florala’s defense managed to force a turnover of its own as Caleb Wood recovered a fumble at the Pleasant Home 9-yard line. The Eagle defense once again stiffened and forced a turnover on downs.
Pleasant Home quarterback Josh Ruth completed a 73-yard pass to Barton to the Florala 8-yard line, and two plays later Adams scored another touchdown.
Late in the first half, Florala put together its best drive of the game marching 95 yards and eating up more than three minutes of time off the clock. Wood scored from two yards out and Florala managed to convert the two-point conversion to cut the Pleasant Home lead to 32-14 at the half.
Florala attempted to jumpstart the second half with an onside kick, but it backfired with Pleasant Home recovering at the Florala 48-yard line. Robert Scott scored a few plays later on a 15-yard run, and on the next Florala drive Scott added an interception to his resume as he intercepted a McNeill pass on third down. Pleasant Home extended their lead to 45-14 when Ruth scored on a 4-yard run. Ruth would end the game with 91 yards passing and a rushing touchdown. 88 of those passing yards went to favorite target Barton.
On Florala’s next drive McNeill was intercepted a third time on the night, this time by defensive back Rico Bovino.
Florala’s defense managed another turnover of their own when the defense forced Ruth to fumble, and a few plays later McNeill scored on a tough 11-yard run. Pleasant Home defensive lineman Brayton Douglas blocked the extra point to cut the Eagle lead to 45-20. Burleson intercepted a Ruth pass on Pleasant Home’s next drive and ran the clock out with Florala falling 45-20 to Pleasant Home.
Pleasant Home coach Chris Mason said he felt like things were clicking all night for his team and that the early lead really helped the Eagles to victory. “Tonight it just clicked for us and the enthusiasm and execution (of the team) helped us get ahead early,” Mason said.
The Eagles will now have to look ahead to region opponent Brantley next week while Florala hosts Kinston.