Foley Lions claim first region title since 2007 with 34-7 win over rival Daphne Trojans

Tynes throws two, Nero runs for two touchdowns to complement a stout defensive effort for the host Lions

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 10/22/22

FOLEY – The Foley Lions can call themselves region champions for the first time in 15 years following Friday night’s 34-7 win over the Daphne Trojans at Ivan Jones Stadium.

It was a …

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Foley Lions claim first region title since 2007 with 34-7 win over rival Daphne Trojans

Tynes throws two, Nero runs for two touchdowns to complement a stout defensive effort for the host Lions

Posted

FOLEY – The Foley Lions can call themselves region champions for the first time in 15 years following Friday night’s 34-7 win over the Daphne Trojans at Ivan Jones Stadium.

It was a fitting night to do so, where the field was named after the Lions’ winningest coach of all-time, Lester Smith, and defensive coordinator Bud Pigott who led Foley to 119 wins and three region titles following Jones’ tenure.

The Lion teams from 2007 and 2022 do share some other similarities outside of being region-champion seasons. Both head coaches – Todd Watson and Deric Scott, respectively – were entering their third years at the helm of a potent Foley offense.

The 2007 team set a program record with 463 points in the 13-game season for an average of 35.6 points per game. The 2022 squad just cracked 300 points with one more regular-season game before the playoffs start but they too have averaged over 30 points per game and increased their season average to 33.8 points per game.

Tynes, Nero register two touchdowns each

Four different Foley Lions hit pay dirt to increase their season average where quarterback Reece Tynes threw a pair of touchdowns (one each to Makai Mitchell and Harrison Knight) and running back Kolton Nero ran for a pair of touchdowns to complement what Knight said the best performance out of the Foley defense this season. Tyler Hamby rounded out the scoring with a 10-yard rush.

“They really stepped up with a new zeal; they really set a goal for themselves, and they weren’t going to stop until they accomplished that goal,” Foley head coach Deric Scott said. “Knowing it was the opportunity to do something that hadn’t been done here in a long time, these are things that don’t come around every day, so they really took that to heart as an opportunity to go show who they are.”

Prim: Defense could attack the spread offense

They did just that by allowing only a rushing touchdown to Daphne running back Nick Clark from three yards out less than a minute before halftime and came away with a handful of turnovers on downs following pressure on quarterback Gabe Reynolds.

Lion defensive end AJ Prim said they were able to bring that pressure because of the Trojans’ spread attack, which led to Reynolds being flushed from the pocket often.

“They started getting in trips and that helped us a lot because they spread it all out and we were able to get a pass rush on them, then we were flying around and making tackles,” Prim said.

Knight wins jump ball for touchdown reception

In formulating a response to Daphne’s missed 44-yard field goal on its opening drive of the second half, Foley got a big third-down conversion that flipped the field on a hookup from Tynes to Alabama commit Perry Thompson.

From the 32-yard line, Tynes lofted a ball toward the end zone where Knight was fighting for position before he leaped past the defender’s reach to high-point the pass and come down with the touchdown for the Lions.

“I saw ball in the air, and ball in the air is mine,” Knight said. “No 50/50 (odds). If the ball is in the air, that’s my ball so I had to go up and make a play.”

Tynes said he knew his guy – who was recently named to the Alabama roster for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic – was going to win as well.

“That’s something we always do with him,” Tynes said of Knight. “He and Perry both make crazy plays and he came out with the touchdown.”

Daphne converts fourth-down fake

After Knight’s touchdown grab, the Trojans were driving near midfield before stalling on its own 41-yard line. As Baylor Beard rolled out to execute the rugby-style punt, he tucked the ball and ran down to the Foley 24-yard line to set Daphne up.

Although that drive ended with a fourth-down incompletion, the Trojan offense was back on the field four plays later after the defense recovered a loose ball fumbled by Tynes. However, the Lion defense came up with another one of its fourth-down stops as time was winding down in the third quarter.

Lions grab Class 7A Region 2 crown at home stadium

After the clock hit triple zeroes to finalize Foley’s home win to end region play as the champions for the first time in 15 years on a night they recognized a hall of fame class and dedicated the field, Scott was happy to check a lot of boxes.

“It was tremendous for our fans to show out,” Scott said. “They really showed up to allow us to have that homefield advantage against also a rival of ours so it was a lot of things in one tonight.”

Up next

The Foley Lions improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in region play for first ahead of three four-win teams (Fairhope, MGM and Baker). Next Friday, Foley hosts Jackson-Olin in non-region action to close the regular season.

The Daphne Trojans fell to 3-6 overall and 3-3 within the group for fifth place. Daphne hosts Hillcrest Evergreen next week to close its regular season.

Money quotes

“This feels really good, one of our main goals was to make playoffs first and then win the region and now we did it,” Tynes said.

“It’s been a while so it feels great, this was a team goal and we accomplished it so now we’re looking forward to next week and winning next week,” Knight said.

“This feels great, it’s been 15 years since we’ve been region champs,” Prim said. “I’m going to celebrate with my brothers.”

“Just being thankful to the Lord. When I took this opportunity, I really took it on faith,” Scott said. “I didn’t know what I was walking into and what the circumstances were, but I knew it was a community that had tradition. I knew it was a community that cares for their young people and that’s why I took the chance on them and they took a chance on me.”

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