GULF SHORES — Four rushing touchdowns from sophomore Kolin Wilson and a shutdown defensive effort earned the Gulf Shores Dolphins a 48-7 win over the Beauregard Hornets to open the Class 5A …
GULF SHORES — Four rushing touchdowns from sophomore Kolin Wilson and a shutdown defensive effort earned the Gulf Shores Dolphins a 48-7 win over the Beauregard Hornets to open the Class 5A State Playoffs at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium on Friday night.
Top-ranked Gulf Shores will return home next week for a second-round contest against Charles Henderson who took down Marbury 64-20.
Friday’s win marked the second 40-point victory at home to open the playoffs in as many seasons for the Dolphins. This year, the hosts limited Beauregard to 114 yards of total offense where 74 of them came on the Hornets’ last drive of the game that resulted in points against many Gulf Shores reserves.
Dolphin head football coach Mark Hudspeth said it was likely the best four-quarter effort he had seen out of the team so far.
“Defensively, you look at the first three-and-a-half quarters with a shutout and I don’t know if we could have played much better,” Hudspeth said. “It was very clean; penalty free, turnover free, they tackled extremely well, special teams was clean. So, once again, it goes back to our preparation that I think is really paying off.”
Dolphins prioritized stopping the Hornets’ run game
With Beauregard’s run-first offense, Gulf Shores senior defensive end Otto Brewer said that stopping the Hornets’ ground attack was on the top of the list on defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s game plan.
“VG, he’s got it all locked down. We came in here with a strong mentality and we ended up shutting them down,” Brewer said after the game. “From the start, it was all about stopping their run game and we stopped it really fast. That gave us all the momentum we needed to finish out the game.”
While Beauregard did drop back to pass on a few occasions, one third-quarter drop back ended with freshman quarterback Cub Jones having nowhere to escape the grasp of a Brewer sack.
“Whenever I got off the line, I saw my man pass set and that was one of the only passes they threw all night. My guy was a little slow, I worked a little move there and I got a good sack,” Brewer said. “I was excited, I looked at the end zone and everyone was getting excited, the crowd was cheering so that’s the best feeling in football.”
Wilson logs ninth triple-digit rushing game on top of four scores
On the other side of the ball, Wilson ran wild with a four-touchdown game to complement 146 rushing yards on 15 carries for the Dolphins which marked his ninth game with more than 100 yards on the ground this season.
Friday night was much of the same where he took advantage of the blocks from Gulf Shores offensive linemen the likes of junior Tyler Burkett, senior Sam Schepker, junior Brantley Akins, senior Bailan King and senior Chase Jennings.
“They were running a 3-3 stack so we know our O-Line was going to work up to the linebackers and reach them to create a big hole for me to run through on most plays,” Wilson explained. “I was just being patient, I trusted my O-Line that they were going to get to their assignments. Usually I have to make one man miss anyway and I was able to do that tonight.”
“(Wilson) ran the ball well and the offensive line did a good job picking up their front,” Hudspeth said. “They had a good team, they’re a big team and I thought our offensive line did a lot of good things up front and that allowed him and Ronnie both to have some good runs, and our quarterback Jud had a big run so good production by everybody.”
Royal can’t be stopped on punt return
The NC State commit picked up a bouncing punt just past midfield and worked toward his sideline before making a cut to the middle where he found nothing but green grass to deliver a 41-0 Dolphin lead just 4.2 seconds before the fourth quarter.
That helped rack up 140 return yards to go along with 52 rushing yards on 7 carries and a 5-yard touchdown run.
Jackson hauls in scoring catch, exits the building
The other Gulf Shores touchdown came on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Harris to senior Braden Jackson in the corner of the end zone.
However, with his momentum carrying him toward four-foot-tall metal barricades just beyond the end zone, Jackson had no choice but to jump over them and land on the track surface next to the football field. Like nothing had happened, Jackson returned to the gridiron and celebrated with his teammates.
Hudspeth has a new favorite birthday present
After the clock hit triple zeroes to lock in the victory, Hudspeth told his team that a playoff win will be a hard birthday present to top.
“When you’ve got a group of guys that go into battle for you and give it all they’ve got, that’s the best birthday present in the world,” Hudspeth’s interview concluded.
The No. 1 Dolphins (11-0) will be back at home next Friday to take on the Charles Henderson Trojans (8-3) in the second round of the Class 5A State Playoffs.
“Our defense is fast. They always fly to the ball, all 11 to the ball every play,” Wilson said. “They do that every day in practice, so I wasn’t surprised when they did it tonight.”
“As a senior, being able to help grow the program throughout my years here is the biggest thing I can ever thank God for letting me do,” Brewer said. “I’m proud of my team and wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”
“It’s always good to get the first one under your belt and this was a really good team coming in here but we just played at a different level tonight,” Hudspeth said. “Every week is going to be more difficult because you’re playing a better team each week and it’s just survive and advance like the March Madness Tournament.”
Other first-round final scores
Enterprise 63, Daphne 28
Handley 68, St. Michael Catholic 38
Jacksonville 35, Bayside Academy 7