West Blocton grounds Eagles

Published 11:31 pm Friday, August 29, 2014

A.L. Johnson had their chances Friday against West Blocton, but costly turnovers proved the difference, handing the Eagles a 31-22 loss.

After a scoreless first quarter, A.L. Johnson got on the board with a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Zynell McGhee. A successful two-point conversion by Gregory Baker put the home team up 8-0 with seven minutes to go before halftime.

But West Blocton would answer though, driving down the field and scoring off a 3-yard run by Leonard Ward. He again got the ball for the two-point conversion and tied the game 8-8 with 3:39 to go before the break.

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ALJ had a chance to head into the lockers with a halftime lead but were intercepted in the end zone.

The third quarter would see the offenses sputter. Both teams fumbled and gave away the ball multiple times.

Tiger quarterback Jake Vick burst through the line for a 38-yard score with 3:47 left in the third quarter, putting his team up 15-8.

The Eagles had opportunities to respond with fumble recoveries by Dyshaun Thrash and Jeremiah Smith inside the 20-yard-line.

They were able to capitalize on the second fumble, when Mike Croom ran in from 11 yards out to give ALJ a 16-15 lead after Baker’s successful two-point conversion run.

West Blocton would score twice again though to put the game out of reach via a 1-yard scamper from Vick and a long run by Paul Clayton that was set up by an Eagle turnover.

The Eagles had the last points of the night with a 18-yard pass from McGhee to Charles Edwards, which capped scoring a 31-22.

“We pretty much shot ourselves in the foot. We had plenty of opportunities,” ALJ head coach Johnney Ford said. “I like the way our guys competed. You just can’t make those types of mistakes and expect to come out with a win.”

Ford said he hopes playing West Blocton, a 4A school, will pay dividends down the road.

“It will prepare you for those games. This right here, we had to find some guts and character,” Ford said.