E.A. Sports Today

Cubs bounce back big

Sophomore back seizes chance to play, scores 4 TDs in 50-point Alexandria outburst

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

ODENVILLE – Frank Tucker told everyone who would listen in the preseason that his Alexandria football team this season didn’t have an established superstar, but rather the potential for several players to become stars and maybe a different one every game.

People need to pay attention, because Saturday was one of those games when “somebody else” took the lead.

Jamal Tucker emerged as Alexandria’s latest game-changer. Getting a shot in place of injured Keenan Woodruff, the sophomore running back rushed for 166 yards on 12 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Valley Cubs downed St. Clair County 50-34 to keep their playoff hopes intact.

“We’re not a one-man team; somebody else stepped up tonight,” Frank Tucker said. “We’re an 11-man team. It was great to see him have a good game.

“Jamal has been getting a lot of reps in practice; he’s just been a little behind in the depth chart. It was good for him today to get a chance to run the ball. He got some carries and he responded well.”

The win gave the Valley Cubs (3-3, 3-2) a one-game hold on the fourth playoff spot in Class 5A Region 6. They host Moody and Anniston each of the next two weeks.

Jamal Tucker scored on a runs of 15, 57, 12 and 32 yards – the last three all coming in the second half. Luke Tucker ran for a touchdown and threw for another. Alton Davis opened the scoring with a 34-yard run and the Cubs never trailed.

The Cubs ran for 354 yards as a team. Davis added 93 yards on 12 carries and Tyrell Gay went for 77 yards on six carries.

It was the first time they had scored at least 50 points in a game since going for 55 in a first-round playoff win over Fairview in 2011.

“It felt real good because we pretty much got our teeth kicked in last week (against Mortimer Jordan) and instead of rolling over and being a bunch of babies, we bounced back and played the best game of the year,” Frank Tucker said. “We’ve kind of been stressing trying to light that scoreboard up. There was really nothing different, we just executed better today.”

The teams were forced to return Saturday after their game was postponed due to weather the night before. They were taken off the field about 15 minutes before kickoff because of lightning in the area and never were allowed back.

The coach was a little worried about the way his team would respond to being so far removed from their comfort zone, but was proud about the way it did.

“You don’t have any idea how kids are going to handle that change; we’re a creature of habit,” Frank Tucker said. “It didn’t bother them.”

Woodruff, held out for concussion-like symptoms, is expected to return to practice Monday.

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