E.A. Sports Today

Duo dynamic

Weaver backfield tandem of Gaines, Spinks both enjoy big games as Bearcats take opener from Cleburne County 49-35

Weaver’s Shamar Spinks (L) races past a Cleburne County defender on one of his two long touchdown runs Friday night. On the cover, Spinks takes a handoff from quarterback Robert Gaines. (All photos by Greg Warren)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER — Of course you’d call them the Dynamic Duo.

The Weaver Bearcats turned Shamar Spinks and Robert Gaines loose on Cleburne County in their season opener Friday night and neither disappointed.

The speedy Spinks rushed for 265 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns, while the versatile Gaines rushed for 113 and passed for 136 and two scores as the Bearcats opened coach Daryl Hamby’s final season with a 49-35 win.

Spinks scored on runs of 1, 54 and 53 yards. He also had a 34-yard run that was stopped short of the goal line. Gaines threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Josh Lowe and an 8-yard opposite-hander to Caleb Allison.

Hamby was reluctant to anoint the pair with greatness after one game, looking instead to keep them grounded for an entire season, but he finally came around.

“Robert made some really great decisions in the game as a quarterback; that’s his first real game at quarterback, did an absolutely awesome job,” Hamby said. “Then, of course, Shamar is a phenomenal running back. We all know that. We know what he can do. He just proved it tonight what kind of running back he can be.”

Gaines compared the tandem, albeit on a high school level, to a cross with NFLers Lamar Jackson (Gaines) and LeVeon Bell (Spinks).

“He’s got all the moves and I’m a dual-threat quarterback so I can run it or throw it,” Gaines said. “When we do the zone, either I’ve got this or he’s got this and (opponents) don’t know, so it’s real deadly. If I give it to him he might take it 50-60 yards. If I keep it, I might throw it, I might run it, you don’t know yet.”

“It’s just hard to contain us when you try to stop us,” Spinks said. “It’s pretty good to know that if they stop you they’re going to have to worry about stopping the quarterback. They’re not going to be able to stop both of us.”

Gaines showed his value on the Bearcats’ first possession of the season when he took off with a fake punt – on his own – to extend the drive and then threw his 57-yard scoring strike to Lowe on the next play.

Spinks, meanwhile, was electrifying with his runs. Both of his long touchdown runs were first-play responses right after Cleburne County scored.

“As soon as I got the ball I was just trying to follow my linemen,” he said. “They were making pretty good holes tonight, I just had to read it right and get the yards.”

The Tigers had some star power of their own. Arcavius Brown rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Richard Cantrell rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown and caught two TD passes from Reese Morrison.

The teams hadn’t played each other since 2013, but it didn’t take long for tensions to spill over. A fast-erupting scuffle broke out following the PAT after Weaver’s second touchdown with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter, resulting in one Weaver player ejection and several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both sides.

The Bearcats were penalized 16 times in the game for 160 yards, while Cleburne County was flagged eight times for 70 yards.

Weaver had the largest number of AHSAA fineable incidents among Calhoun County high schools during the 2017-18 academic year — nine, including middle school/junior high incidents, resulting in $1,350 in fines. As a result, Weaver principal Mike Allison had all players, parents and coaches sign a sportsmanship pact, a pledge reaffirming their commitment to sportsmanship and fair play, and holding them responsible for the fines they incur during school-sponsored sporting events this year.

“I’m just disappointed already,” Allison said after the incident. “We’ll look at the film, see who gets ejected and we’ll see what the fine is. It’s a very important issue. We’re going to get this corrected.”

“We are going to get more disciplined, I can guarantee you that,” Hamby said. “We are not going to have these type of penalties again. We’re not going to do it.”

Weaver’s defense swarms over Cleburne County quarterback Reese Morrison (12).

Weaver 49, Cleburne County 35
Category CC Wea

First downs 18 18
Rushes-yds 54-286 34-394
Passes 4-10-0 4-5-1
Passing yds 92 136
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Punts-avg 1-20.0 0-0
Penalties-yds 8-70 16-160

Scoring summary
Cleburne Co. 0 6 8 21 — 35
Weaver 13 7 15 14 — 49

W – Josh Lowe 57 pass from Robert Gaines (Miguel Canchucaja kick), 9:18 1Q
W – Shamar Spinks 1 run (kick failed), 3:57 1Q
W – Caleb Allison 8 pass from Robert Gaines (Miguel Canchucaja kick), 8:50 2Q
C – Arcavius Brown 2 run (kick blocked), 2:48 2Q
C – Richard Cantrell 23 pass from Reese Morrison (Isavia Brown run), 8:35 3Q
W – Shamar Spinks 54 run (Miguel Canchucaja kick), 8:11 3Q
W – Drake Monroe 4 run (Taylor Thompson pass from Robert Gaines), 2:05 3Q
C – Arcavius Brown 1 run (Hayden Stephens kick), 7:03 $Q
W – Shamar Spinks 53 run (Miguel Canchucaja kick), 6:45 4Q
C – Richard Cantrell 40 pass from Reese Morrison (kick failed), 6:25 4Q
W – Caleb Allison 2 run (Miguel Canchucaja kick), 1:59 4Q
C – Richard Cantrell 44 run (Richard Cantrell run), 45.7 4Q

Weaver dual threat quarterback Robert Gaines (L) is greeted by a young fan after a big game.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login