Florala opens season with region win at Red Level, 48-13

Published 10:45 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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Florala opened up a four-touchdown lead in the first quarter and did not look back on the way to a 48-13 win at Red Level in the season opener for both teams Friday.

“I am really proud of these kids and coaches. We have a really tough group of guys and have had a long five weeks of practice without that Week 0 game. They were ready to come out and compete. We weren’t sharp at times but were at other times. We have to build some depth and get back to work for another region game against Georgiana. These guys are a family who can truly depend on each other,” FHS Head Coach Jordan Cantrell said.

“Tonight did not go how we wanted. We got down early and made a lot of mistakes with myself included. We have a young football team and were a little shell-shocked. It was big having our first region game in the first week. I told them at halftime to come out and play better than they did in the first half. Our 11 guys don’t get to make adjustments and play every snap on offense, defense, and special teams. The wheels fell off early, and we couldn’t get control of it. I’m proud of my guys for working hard, and we will be ready next week when we go down to Pleasant Home,” RLS Head Coach Kenny Skipper said.

Rayshon Coleman returned the opening kickoff 75 yards to the house. The PAT was no good as Florala (1-0, 1-0 1A Region 2) took a 6-0 lead just 10 seconds into the game. The defense forced Red Level (0-1, 0-1) into a three-and-out and sent the offense back onto the field. After a penalty, Coleman connected with Elijah McMeans on a 53-yard touchdown pass. Coleman added the two-point conversion and made the score 14-0 with 9:35 to go in the opening quarter.

The Tigers began their second possession at their own 47-yard-line and gained a first down with a 37-yard run from Micah Wright. The Wildcats regained momentum when Christian Greasham recovered a fumble on the next play. Coleman had a 7-yard run on first down before a holding penalty. McMeans then found an opening and scored from 73 yards out as Greasham converted the PAT for a 21-0 lead.

Red Level was unable to move the ball, and the drive ended with an interception by Noah Bryan. Coleman began the next drive with a 17-yard run followed by a 13-yard scamper from McMeans. Two plays later, Devan Parker picked off a pass. Following a roughing the passer penalty on third down, Dawson Cox forced a fumble and gave Florala the ball inside the red zone. McMeans lost five yards on first down, but Coleman had a 24-yard touchdown run for a 27-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers were forced into another punt. McMeans opened the next drive with a 14-yard run for a first down. Coleman then notched a 26-yard run and threw a 30-yard pass to McMeans. Kaden Cantrell capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion gave the Wildcats a 35-0 lead with 8:39 until halftime. Koltin Barlow had an 8-yard pass to Parker on second down of the ensuing possession before the drive stalled. Cantrell started the next series with a 23-yard run. Coleman pushed the lead to 42-0 with a 26-yard strike to Greasham before the first half ended.

Red Level continued to struggle offensively early in the second half. Florala needed only three plays on its opening possession with another touchdown pass and stretched the margin to 48-0. Shambrian Mayes had a 27-yard kickoff return before a turnover at the end of the third quarter.

With reserves in the game, the Tigers regained possession with 10:17 left. Wright had two first-down runs for 12 and 14 yards. Barlow scored on a 15-yard touchdown run, and Ben Carroll brought the score to 48-7 with the PAT. The Wildcats fumbled on their next drive and set up the final score of the night. After Mayes tallied a 10-yard gain, Barlow found the end zone from a yard out.

Both teams resume region play Friday, Sept. 8, as Florala welcomes Georgiana (1-1, 1-0) for its home opener, and Red Level travels to Pleasant Home (1-0).