E.A. Sports Today

Cubs pull it out

Wright’s sneak on his only carry of the game gives Alexandria key 2OT region victory over Sardis
By East Alabama Sports Today
Five times in the second half and overtimes Alexandria knocked on the door of the end zone. Four times they couldn’t punch it in, but they finally broke the plane when they needed to most.
Junior quarterback Wesley Wright, on his only carry of the game, snuck in from the 1 on third down in the second overtime to give Alexandria a 16-10 victory over Sardis in a game that carried huge Class 5A playoff implications for both teams. By winning, the Valley Cubs control their own destiny whether they’ll get a first-round playoff game at home.
“Five times at the five but we got in when we needed to the most,” Alexandria coach Todd Ginn said. “When we had to win the game we won the game.”
In a sign of things to come, the Valley Cubs got inside the 5 on their first drive of the second quarter and settled for a 24-yard field goal by Grayson Forrest to give them a 10-0 lead. Eighth-grader Ronnie Royal scored of a 2-yard run in the first quarter.
Royal did most of Alexandria’s rushing with senior Nate McCallum still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the third quarter of last week’s game with Cleburne County. He weathered the storm well, rushing for 237 yards on 31 carries. The first time he touched the ball he went 43 yards. He also had runs of 45 and 59.
“He and Nate are interchangeable and Nate usually gets twice the carries Ronnie does, but Ronnie got the bulk of them tonight and he never wanted out,” Ginn said.
The Valley Cubs led 10-3 at halftime. They got inside the 5 with their first three drives of the second half. Ginn opted not to kick a field goal the first two times, figuring they’d pin the Lions deep if they didn’t score, and the third Royal fumbled out of the end zone after he appeared to break the plane for a touchdown. Sardis tied it with 5:34 to play on a 14-yard touchdown pass in a drive kept alive by a tipped ball that landed on a fallen receiver’s belly for a first-down.
“Our offense was clicking, but our nemesis was the 5-yard line,” Ginn said. “(Scoring) in any of those others would’ve put the game away the way our defense was playing.”
Alexandria had the ball first in overtime and got stopped on third and fourth down from the 1. Sardis didn’t move in its possession and came out to try a field goal. Ginn iced kicker David Cobalen at the last minute with a timeout. He drew up a block to come in on the right side, but the didn’t need it because when play resumed Cobalen’s kick went straight into the line.
Sardis started first in the second overtime. A penalty negated what appeared to be a Lions’ touchdown. They tried to fake a 37-yard field goal but Javarious Williams was on the pitchman before he could even get to the ball.
The Valley Cubs’ winning possession started with a penalty against a non-team personnel on their sideline. Their first play picked up eight yards and then Royal got it down to the 1. That’s when Ginn went to Wright.
“I said we’re not going to mess this up again,” Ginn said. “We’re in the middle of the field, I put in Wesley and said we’re running the quarterback sneak, (Devin) Burton you get behind him and push him into the end zone.
“Wesley was going to be (one of) the quarterbacks, but it was one of those things what we needed to do to win this year just happened to involve us in the wildcat, but he’s taken it like a champ. To step in and do what he needs to do, it was so awesome to see. One snap, one sneak, to win the game. He got one carry for a half a yard touchdown to win the game. It couldn’t happen to a better kid. I’d have loved for (Royal) to score and put the game away, but I was so thrilled for Wesley.”
With the win the Valley Cubs moved into a share of the Class 5A Region 6 lead with Etowah, with three region games to play. They are the only two undefeated teams in region play and the Cubs gave both one-loss teams – Boaz and Saris – their only losses.
“If we had lost tonight it would have been out of our hands,” Ginn said. “Tonight solidified our playoff (spot) probably. Now we will control whether we get to play at home in the playoffs. We felt like we had to come out of here to have a chance to play at home in the playoffs, which has been a big-time goal, especially with everybody outside of Alexandria people thinking this was a rebuilding year.”

Alex (16)Sard (10)

Alexandria    7 3  0  0 0  6  –  16
Sardis              0 3  0  7 0  0  –  10
Scoring plays

A – Ronnie Royal 2 run (Grayson Forrest kick)
A – Grayson Forrest 24 FG
S – David Cobalen 30 FG
S – Temon Wilson 14 pass from Jay Owens (David Cobalen kick)
A – Wesley Wright 1 run (no PAT attempt)

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