E.A. Sports Today

Tough way to finish

Alexandria drops an emotional season-ending loss to Wenonah in playoffs; Chaffin rushes for more than 200 yards in final game

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM — Grayson Chaffin came off the field with two minutes left in the game with tears in his eyes.

The Alexandria senior had literally given everything he had in the final game of his high school career, but it just wasn’t enough for the Valley Cubs to stave off Wenonah in the Class 5A football playoffs Thursday night.

Chaffin rushed for 203 yards to threaten the 1,000-yard barrier for the season, but the Cubs fell to the fourth-ranked Dragons 40-14.

“At Alexandria it’s more than a team, it’s a family,” Chaffin said. “We’ve played together ever since we were 5, 6 years old and to play all those years and for it to come to an end it really sinks in. It’s more than just a game, more than just football, it’s a family, it’s a brotherhood; that’s what means more to us.”

Chaffin and Keenan Woodruff had given the Valley Cubs a dynamic rushing duo all season. Alexandria coach Frank Tucker said both backs “ran with a lot of heart” – Woodruff had 90 yards and a touchdown – but on this night it was Chaffin who had the biggest runs.

He broke off a 22-yard run on the Cubs’ first play from scrimmage and had a 21-yard burst later in the drive that ended with him catching a 12-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Wells on fourth-and-goal.

He also had runs of 34, 26, 11, 14 and 35 yards in the game. He had more than 100 yards rushing by halftime and 161 yards through three quarters.

“My teammates seeing me making big plays and having a lot of energy rubs off on them,” Chaffin said. “They look up to that and they just feed off me.

“We knew it was going to be a big game. I personally knew I had to step up to make the big plays, to have the energy, so my teammates could feed off me and we could have the momentum to come out and play hard.”

The Valley Cubs (8-3) never led in the game. They were close, but just couldn’t capitalize when the opportunity presented.

They were as close as 7-6 after Wells’ touchdown pass to Chaffin, but the Valley Cubs missed the conversion that would’ve given them the lead.

The Dragons (9-1) answered that score and Alexandria was driving to match it, but had a fourth-down pass intended for Josh Tucker broken up in the back of the end zone. Wenonah led 19-6 at the half.

The Cubs were driving on the opening possession of the second half and had just crossed the Wenonah 35 when a bad snap cost them 16 yards. Then early in the fourth quarter of a 25-14 game they had a third-down pass slip through the hands of an open receiver and turned it over on downs on the next play.

“We had our chances … but we never could put down three plays together on offense; we just had some momentum killers,” Tucker said. “You could tell they were really wanting to win; it just wasn’t our night.

“These kids deserved to win; we just played a team that was better. We had to play about a perfect game and when we didn’t get the job done it came back to hurt us.”

[table id=93 /]

Alexandria 6 0 8 0 — 14
Wenonah 13 6 6 15 — 40

W – Keontay Jones 11 run (Carlos Rogers kick), 9:19 1Q
A – Grayson Chaffin 12 pass from Jacob Wells (pass failed), 6:19 1Q
W – Chase Green 29 pass from Carlos Rogers (kick failed), 4:49 1Q
W – Carlos Rogers 4 run (run failed), 3:00 2Q
W – Carlos Rogers 5 run (pass failed), 6:32 3Q
A – Keenan Woodruff 9 run (Devin Burton pass from Jacob Wells), 3:57 3Q
W – Keontay Jones 5 run (Jason Woods pass from Carlos Rogers), 8:14 4Q
W – Anthony Hudson 78 interception return (Carolos Rogers kick), 6:47 4Q

On the cover: Alexandria running back Grayson Chaffin on the sideline.

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