BAY MINETTE – The Foley Lions defense came up with a pair of goal-line stands in the final five minutes of Friday night’s contest to preserve a 14-0, non-region win over the Baldwin …
BAY MINETTE – The Foley Lions defense came up with a pair of goal-line stands in the final five minutes of Friday night’s contest to preserve a 14-0, non-region win over the Baldwin County Tigers at Lyle Underwood Stadium.
Foley produced two turnovers-on-downs in the shadow of its own goal posts when it needed it the most to earn a bounce-back victory.
“It proves to us and the coaches that we can do anything,” linebacker Tyler Hamby said. “We can stop anybody, I feel like.”
Hamby also stepped into the spotlight as the Lions’ top ball-carrier in what ended up being a ground-bound battle on the muddy surface. His eight-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter gave Foley a lead it would never surrender.
“Some of us have to play both sides of the ball and do what we need to do but we needed this win bad,” Hamby said. “With the weather conditions, we practiced in it and prepared then we just tore it up.”
Uneven footing? No problem.
Although both teams had to play on the same field, a week of heavy rain in the northern part of the county left Mitchell Field oversaturated with puddles scattered around the field, both in- and out-of-bounds. The sidelines eventually turned into a sea of mud but even that did little to affect the mindset of the players.
“Just keep battling, both teams are playing on the same field in the same conditions so we’re not even going to speak on that,” Foley head coach Deric Scott said of his halftime message.
“We practiced in the rain, we practiced outside all week so we prepared for this right here,” Lions receiver Harrison Knight said. “We were ready.”
“We were in it all week last week so just from a mental standpoint, we said let’s just get out there and do it and not worry about the conditions,” Baldwin County head coach Scott Rials said. “I don’t think it bothered us too much, just makes it tough where you have trouble moving the football, both sides.”
Circus catch for Foley’s second score
It was Knight who provided the Lions’ other touchdown on the night on a jump ball that he originally caught but had it tipped up by the Tigers’ defensive back. While falling to the ground, Knight secured the catch on his backside in the end zone in the homestretch of the third quarter.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work during practice, just sticking with it,” Knight said of how he managed to haul in the touchdown. “I tipped it to myself and I stuck with it on the way down, I really wanted it bad so I had to grab it.”
In the eyes of his head coach, it was simply another routine play for the senior receiver.
“It was right on time and just characteristic of his play and the type of guy he is,” Scott said. “He makes those plays routine and we’re thankful for him.”
Offensive line paves the way for Foley’s run game
Out of the Lions’ 31 first-half plays, they ran the ball 20 times behind the big offensive line anchored by tackles Logan Joellenbeck and Cameron Schultz in what was another standard performance from Scott’s perspective.
“I think it was just our offensive line and what they were doing up front,” Scott said. “Those guys up there for us set the tone and set the stage. They don’t get a lot of recognition but they set the tone for us that we could and would run the ball tonight.”
Hamby agreed that he benefitted from the big boys up front and wanted to keep being fed.
“When I got those first couple of carries I was just like ‘Feed me the ball,’ I felt it in me,” Hamby said. “We saw that it was slippery and we couldn’t really pass the ball so we went to the run game and just kept feeding it.”
Rials: Hats off to Baldwin County defense
While Foley’s offense did manage to score 14 points, it could have been much more with the explosive weapons on the Lions’ sideline. Rials was very pleased with the Tigers’ defensive effort, they were just on the field too much.
“I saw a lot of guts, those guys played hard. Defensively we were on the field a lot, they had a lot of snaps,” Rials said. “We played hard and fast. We’ve still got some things to clean up and we’re still missing a few defensive guys. … I saw all our guys have a good attitude and they were, ‘OK, we’ve got this, we know how to do it.’ We just have to keep working and getting better.”
Baldwin County’s next chance to get better comes this week in its preparation for the first region game against the Toros in Spanish Fort next Friday. Both teams will enter with 1-1 overall records for the region-opening contest.
Foley also moved to 1-1 with the win and similarly moves onto its region-opening game next week. The MGM Vikings will make the trip to Ivan Jones Stadium where the Lions will play host.
“With Hamby running the ball, it really cemented that we can run the ball,” Knight said. “We don’t just have talent on the outside, we can run the ball too.”
“They’ve got some guys over there that were just battling and they’re really developing and really coming along. I’m just so proud of our guys for what they did there in that fourth quarter,” Scott said of his defense. “They answered the bell.”
Other Baldwin County final scores
Carver 27, Daphne 14 (Thursday, Aug. 25)
Bayside Academy 33, Pike Liberal Arts 15
Fairhope 38, Gulf Breeze (FL) 31
Faith Academy 42, Elberta 6
Foley 14, Baldwin County 0
Gulf Shores 45, Citronelle 12
Rocky Bayou 64, Snook Christian 16
Spanish Fort 16, Blount 6
St. Michael Catholic 36, Chickasaw 0
Theodore 34, Robertsdale 0