E.A. Sports Today

Bearcats playoff-bound

Weaver locks down fourth playoff spot from Class 3A Region 5 by getting past Pleasant Valley

Pleasant Valley’s Caden Turner keeps his concentration despite pressure from Weaver’s Dalton Hamby to score the Raiders’ tournament. On the cover, Weaver’s Caleb Allison (30) runs between Turner (3) and Jacob Malsy for the game’s first score. (Photos by Greg Warren)

By East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER — Do the Weaver Bearcats have another deep run in the playoffs ahead of them? They’ve at least started the process, much like last year as they wrapped up fourth place in the state’s toughest region – Class 3A Region 5 – with a 29-6 victory over the Pleasant Valley.

It was not quite as easy as last year’s 44-0 romp, as coach Jonathan Nix has the Raiders steadily improving, especially on the defensive side of the football. Their defense has improved from allowing 46 points a game in 2015 to 22 points a game this year.

And, actually, the Raiders (3-6, 1-5) were still in the hunt for a playoff berth Friday night depending on how things went around the region.

That defense kept the Raiders hanging around Friday night until a safety and a short touchdown run in the final four minutes of the game enabled the Bearcats (6-3, 3-3) to breathe a little.

“You have to give the Raiders and Coach Nix a lot of credit as they came to play and never quit,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby said.

The Bearcats struck first in the opening quarter after the defense caused a fumble that squirted back some 20 yards to end a PV threat and give the Bearcats the ball at their own 40. Seven plays later, Caleb Allison battled his way in for a 13-yard touchdown.

”When great players say give me the ball I can score on these guys, I listen,” said Hamby.

The defenses took control the rest of the half until Weaver got the ball at the Raiders 30 after a 17-yard punt return from Shamar Spinks. Spinks got the touchdown on a 4-yard run with eight seconds left in the half.

“The experience kicked in there and that was a huge play,” said Hamby. ”We had no timeouts left and we had to get lined up and run a play as the clock was going to run out on us if we did not score. They called the play and Spinks got the ball in the end zone.”

Spinks went over 1,000 yards for the season on the night as he rushed for 175 yards on 25 carries.

“Spinks and London (Knight) are two great backs and we are blessed to have two backs like that,” Hamby said. “We learned a lot about Spinks last year as he stepped in after some injuries and carried us deep in the playoffs.”

The Bearcats will open the playoffs on the road at Region 7 champion Plainview (8-1).

“We have to get some people well and we have to become more disciplined or we will not go very far at all,” Hamby said, noting the Bearcats’ 135 yards in penalties. “Some of those penalties were just selfish. We just need to shut up and play.”

Knight rushed for 113 yards on eight carries and scored two second-half touchdowns. The first came on a 71-yard burst to put the Bearcats up 21-0 early in the third quarter. The second came in the waning minutes after a failed onsides kick after the Raiders scored to cut the lead to 21-6.

The Raiders put together two long drives in the second half. There was a 14-play, seven-minute drive that ended on downs at the Weaver 25. And there was an 11-play, 72-yard drive that ended on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Brody Phillips to Caden Turner.

Reagan King led the Raiders with 77 yards on 11 carries. Ethan Borders added 54 yards on 18 carries.

[table id=84 /]

Pleasant Valley 0 0 0 6 — 6
Weaver 7 7 7 8 — 29

W – Caleb Allison 13 run (Riley Benavides kick), 3:18 1Q
W — Shamar Spinks 4 run (Riley Benavides kick), 0:08 2Q
W – London Knight 71 run (Riley Benavides kick), 9:03 3Q
PV – Caden Turner 32 pass from Brody Phillips (kick failed), 8:26 4Q
W – Safety, Ethan Borders tackled in end zone, 4:18 4Q
W – London Knight 21 run (kick failed), 3:27 4Q

You must be logged in to post a comment Login