Straughn’s season ends in Mobile

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2016

BY: Jimmy Wigfield

The Straughn Tigers look to play spoiler as they enter the 2016 AHSAA Class 3A state football playoffs. Josh Dutton/Star-News

The Straughn Tigers look to play spoiler as they enter the 2016 AHSAA Class 3A state football playoffs.
Josh Dutton/Star-News

MOBILE- Straughn fumbled away a chance to tie the game at Mobile Christian’s 3-yard line midway through the third quarter, then the No. 3-ranked Leopards responded with a 97-yard touchdown drive to take command and went on win 21-7 in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs Friday night at Harrison Field.

Mobile Christian (10-1) will play host to No. 5 Montevallo (10-1) in the second round on Nov. 11 but the Leopards’ survival was in doubt as the Tigers were poised to tie it 7-7 until quarterback Matthew Worley fumbled the snap at Mobile Christian’s 2, where it rolled back a yard before Jordan Graddy fell on it.

The Leopards then drove the 97 yards in 14 plays – including an 18-yard screen pass from quarterback Cam Horne to Cam Alexander on fourth-and-12 at Straughn’s 32, followed by a 5-yard touchdown pass five plays later from Horne to Alexander to make it 14-0 with 9 seconds left in the third quarter.

“It’s 7-0 on the 2-yard line about to be 7-7 … that was a big play,” said Tigers coach Chris Wilson, who lost the first opening-round playoff game of his career to finish the season 4-6. “It’s unfortunate. I hate that happened. We had it 7-0 almost into the fourth quarter.”

Play of the game: A 34-yard pass from Horne to Eric Poellnitz from the Leopards’ 1 in the first quarter to start a 99-yard, 9-play drive that led to Troy Young’s 37-yard TD run and a 7-0 lead.

Stat sheet: Young, who has committed to Arizona, finished with 88 yards on 17 carries despite being hampered by strep throat and an inner-ear infection … Hammett was 11-of-21 for 128 yards … the Tigers avoided a shutout when Worley scored from a yard out with 19 seconds left … Mobile Christian made it 21-0 in the fourth quarter on Horne’s 13-yard pass to Poellnitz … the Leopards had 156 yards rushing and 122 passing (Horne was 9-of-18).

By the numbers: 43.3, average points Straughn had allowed in losing the last three games of the regular season … 52-58, combined record of Mobile Christian’s opponents … 6-1, Wilson’s record in first-round playoff games, including 5-0 at Washington County.

“We’re always going to play hard and have a good plan,” Wilson said. “The physical gifts may not be there yet but our guys played with a lot of heart. Everybody thought they’d blow us out. I’m proud of what we did this year just making it to the playoffs.”