No. 4 Wildcats run away from PatriotsPublished 11:03pm Friday, October 19, 2012
Special to the Enquirer
FLORETTE – Brewer (1-7) was unable to slow down the top regional foe No. 4 Fort Payne (8-0) on its home turf Friday night.
The explosive Fort Payne offense played a near perfect game to stay undefeated as they took home the 49-12 victory.
“This is the icing on the cake after a lackluster week of practice for some of our guys,” said head Coach Dan Styles.
“We tried to convince our guys that they can be competitive against a team like Fort Payne. We started two or three ninth graders tonight and probably 70 percent of the rest of them our 10th and 11th graders. That makes it tough when you’re going up against 17- and 18-year-olds and senior heavy teams like Fort Payne.”
The last time these two teams met was in 2003 when Fort Payne took home a 55-0 victory. Though the first half looked to be a repeat of the same, the determined Patriots continued to compete until the very end.
Fort Payne took early control of the game in the first quarter and maintained its dominance throughout the half. The Wildcats scored on six consecutive drives.
Fort Payne senior quarterback Dale Jackson connected to fellow senior Silas Jennings for two separate touchdowns in the first quarter; including a 50-yard connection for a touchdown in the opening drive.
Brewer struggled to answer back with its opening drive. When Patriot quarterback Weston Pritchett attempted a pass to Nicholas Humphries, the ball fell short bouncing off of Humphries foot and into the hands of Wildcat Michael Fraebel.
The Wildcats turned the turnover into points with a one-yard touchdown rush by Jennings on the ensuing drive. Jennings rushed for one more touchdown in the quarter bringing his total to four touchdowns.
The Patriots were unable to move the ball in the first half but manage to finally find a way to slow down the Wildcats’ offense forcing them to punt in the final three minutes of the half. However, Brewer would turn the ball over on the ensuing drive and headed into the locker room trailing 49-0.
“At halftime I told the kids that the pressure was off,” said Styles. “I tried to remind them of the first time they picked up a ball in the yard and how fun the game was; and that’s what I tried to remind them, that it was still just a game and to have fun with it.”
Brewer came into the second half determined despite the deficit. On the Patriots first drive of the half the offense did everything right. Junior Nathan Stuart was the workhorse for his team as he pounded the running game through the center of the Fort Payne defense.
Stuart’s efforts allowed for Brewer’s passing game to pick up. Pritchett went perfect on the drive passing to Nicholas Humphries and Brendon Deberry on four separate occasions. His three yard touchdown pass to Deberry finally put Brewer on the board. A failed point after attempt left the Patriots trailing 49-6.
However, Brewer was not done yet. Late in the fourth quarter Fort Payne committed its first error of the game. The Wildcats fumbled on the drive recovered by Patriots’ Seth O’Neal giving them possession on the Fort Payne 22-yard line.
Brendon Deberry converted the mistake into points with back to back rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown. The failed two point play left the Fort Payne with a 49-12 victory.
“Our biggest challenge right now is keeping the young guys heads up,” said Styles. “Most of them realize that our greater days are ahead. But they are a lot like me; they are anxious to get that process started.”
Brewer now with only two games remaining will start to salvage what is left of the 2012 season against Southside-Gadsden on Oct. 26.
“We are going to get better,” Styles said.
“We are going to subscribe to the plan that we have. It isn’t overnight success like many would like it to be, but we’re going to continue to work hard. I’d like for our kids to go out on a high note and at least compete here at the end to get our off season started on a high note. We need to find a way to raise the standard that most of these kids hold themselves to and convince them that they are capable.”