MOBILE, Ala.—UMS-Wright sophomore Grant Barber recovered an onside kick attempt by Bayside’s Colin Douglas with less than two minutes left in the game as the 4A Bulldogs preserved their three-point lead for a 27-24 non-region win over the …
MOBILE, Ala.—UMS-Wright sophomore Grant Barber recovered an onside kick attempt by Bayside’s Colin Douglas with less than two minutes left in the game as the 4A Bulldogs preserved their three-point lead for a 27-24 non-region win over the visiting 3A Admirals Friday evening at Ervin S. Cooper Stadium.
Barber, a receiver, was one of many UMS-Wright ball-handling specialists up front for the last kick off after Bayside scored on a 36-yard Hunter Slater-to-Landon Lasseter pass and a two-point conversion run by Slater with 1:55 left in regulation which made it a three-point game. Bayside had tried an onside kick earlier after their second TD—a four-yard run by Trip Puckett to make it 21-16 at the 9:17 mark.
“We were ready for another onside,” said Bulldogs head coach Terry Curtis. “Our assistant coaches did a great job getting us ready for Bayside. We knew they would be tough and they never quit. Phil (Lazenby—BA head coach) and his coaches do a great job and you can’t ever count them out. But we executed well in the second half and played good defense when we had to.”
Two second half turnovers hurt the Admirals including a fumble which led to a 36-yard drive and a 1-yard touchdown run by Bulldog quarterback Gunner Roach to make it 21-10. Later an interception by Kendrell Perine was returned to the Bayside 42. Troy Dixon then carried four-consecutive times to score from 8-yards out with 4:30 remaining in the game. It was his third TD of the game. UMS-W went for two but was stopped to led 27-16. It would be enough.
Lazenby, who was an assistant at UMS-W before taking over the Bayside program was proud of his team’s effort.
“They showed a lot of character and heart on this football field tonight and I couldn’t be more proud,” he said. “We are a little short of players at some spots and we have to deal with that as best we can. But we are not a fluke. We have played some top-notch teams and that heart and character keeps us in these kinds of games. And I believe we are better for going toe-to-toe with teams like UMS. Of course I have a close friendship with coach Curtis and have feelings about this school. I worked with Terry for several years here and it’s always nice to come back here. They have a really good team again this year. We made some mistakes tonight but a good team like UMS will cause a lot of those and also take advantage of anything you give them.”
UMS-W led 14-10 at the half. Douglas kicked a 31-yard field goal to give the Admirals a 3-0 lead. UMS-W responded with a 76-yard drive capped by Dixon’s first TD, a one-yard run, as the first quarter ended. Breland Meador kicked the first of three PATs for the first Bulldog lead, 7-3.
Later in the second period, Bayside’s Zack Dyas picked off a Roach pass and returned to the Bayside 24. That led to a 76-yard drive capped by a Slater-to-Greg Wallace TD pass of 11 yards and Douglas’ extra point which made it 10-7, Admirals. But Roach later found Receivers Chauncey Callier and Jaylon Jones for gains of 19 and 17 yards, then ran a keeper for 34 yards to the BA seven. Two plays later Dixon carried the ball over from the two with 52.6 second left in the half.
The Bulldogs improved to 4-1, 3-0 with their only loss to undefeated 6A McGill-Toolen Catholic. The Admirals were coming off another three-point loss (43-40) to 3A Region 1 opponent T.R. Miller and stand at 2-3, 2-1 midway into the regular season. Their other loss was 34-21 to 5A Charles Henderson.
Bayside and UMS-Wright met for the first time in varsity football last season in Daphne with UMS-W taking another close one 23-19. The Bulldogs went on to win the 2012 4A state title 42-14 over Oneonta.
Curtis had taken most the week off with the death of his motherHelen Alley Curtis on Sept. 23 and her funeral Thursday.
“I didn’t want it to be a distraction all week and so the assistant coaches did a great job of handling the situation with the players and helped them all understand what was going on with me. I appreciate Phil and Mark (Lasseter — Bayside assistant and former UMS-Wright assistant) being with us yesterday and all the well-wishes from the Bayside folks. I’m just proud of those kids.”