Titans fight to the end

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 8, 2003

Despite what Coach Webb Tutt described as "our best effort of the season", the West Alabama Prep Titans fell to the Jackson Academy Eagles 40-7.

The loss ends a turnaround season for the Titans, as it came in the first round of the AISA state playoffs.

Indeed, Jackson had a great team.

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By the end of the regular season, the Eagles had played to a 10-0 record and a #2 ranking in all of AISA.

In their last meeting, Jackson had defeated WAP by a lop-sided score of 54-0.

During the week leading up to tonight’s game, the Titans knew that the challenge would be great.

In order to gain a more competitive advantage, Coach Tutt spent the week of practice installing new offensive and defensive schemes.

The idea, according to Tutt, was to utilize a power running attack in order to maintain control of the clock.

Judging by the first quarter, it was the greatest idea since the invention of the forward pass.

Jackson began the game by returning the opening kickoff to their own 48-yard line.

Four plays later, the Eagles attempted to convert on a fourth-and-three.

Making his first varsity start, eighth-grader Matthew Bouler wasted no time in making an impact.

His tackle on Jackson’s David Castle was short of the first down marker, giving the Titans a turnover on downs.

The Titans then unveiled their closely-held, secret game plan:

the wishbone.

With Joe Magro at fullback, Rusty Pope and Devon Norman completed the ‘bone from their halfback positions.

Unfortunately, though, the Titans were forced to punt on their first possession.

Or maybe "fortunately".

Jackson’s punt returner mishandled the punt, and Magro picked up the loose ball and scampered 25-yards for the game’s first score.

Magro added the PAT, and the Titans had stunned the home crowd while leading 7-0 with 7:23 left in the first quarter.

Jackson’s next possession ended just like their first.

This time, it was Michael Bozeman who made the stop of JA quarterback John Ryan Colvin on fourth down.

By the end of the first quarter, the WAP fans who had made the long drive from Demopolis had begun to wonder if they were watching a miracle unfold, as the Titans held on to their 7-0 lead through the quarter.

The Jackson Academy Eagles, however, had other ideas.

On the first play of the second quarter, Castle ran over left tackle, cut toward the left sideline and raced 73-yards for a touchdown.

Ben Wolfe added the point after.

Later in the second, Colvin lofted a pass deep to Jo Jo Glass for a

46-yard Eagle touchdown.

Wolfe’s point after was again good.

Less than two minutes later, May’s punt was blocked by JA’s Luke Waters.

Johnny Nichols recovered the loose football in the end zone for another Eagle touchdown.

Following Wolfe’s PAT, Jackson held a 21-7 lead with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter.

Jackson wasn’t done in the first half.

Although well covered by WAP defender Jan Jennings, Jackson’s Nick Evans went up and caught a 33-yard pass from Colvin for a TD with 20 seconds remaining.

The extra point was blocked, but Jackson held a comfortable 27-7 lead at halftime.

Jackson’s Keith McKulley would add two touchdowns during the second half to give the Eagles their final margin of victory, 40-7.

Defensively, seniors Chad Seale and Joe Magro led the team with ten and nine tackles, respectively.

Jackson will host South Montgomery Academy next Friday night in second round of the AISA playoffs.

West Alabama Prep (4-7 overall) earned the respect of many in the area while making the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

The Jackson fans were impressed, as many of them gave the Titans a standing ovation as they left the field.

Coach Tutt agreed.