DAPHNE — In what was a rematch of the game that decided last year’s Class 7A Region 1 regular-season crown, the Daphne Trojans and Foley Lions lined up for an exhibition game Friday night …
DAPHNE — In what was a rematch of the game that decided last year’s Class 7A Region 1 regular-season crown, the Daphne Trojans and Foley Lions lined up for an exhibition game Friday night at Jubilee Stadium to close spring practices.
Daphne was originally scheduled to play its spring game against Callaway at the University of Southern Mississippi but after that fell through, and with Foley also needing an opponent to finish spring training, the Baldwin County rivals fit the bill for each other.
“It’s unheard of but we got put into a challenge of not being able to go to Mississippi so we could have lost a game,” said Trojan head football coach Kenny King. “But me and Deric Scott got together and said, ‘Hey let’s do it for the boys,’ and that’s what we did. I think it was a good showing on both teams.”
“We don’t shy away from that, it’s competition at the end of the day,” said Scott, the head football coach of the Lions. “I have to live what I preach, I’m a competitor from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep; it doesn’t matter who it is, you’ve still got to go play the game.”
Trojan defense comes through at the end
And in this version of the game, which featured only two 10-minute live periods, the Daphne defense came up with a scoop-and-score and a goal-line stand in the final five minutes to secure a 21-17 win.
Both teams traded scores but the hosts delivered the final blow with a turnover on downs in Foley’s final possession. Al Woodard delivered the fumble recovery and returned it about 15 yards for a touchdown with 4:49 left to play to give the Trojans the lead for good.
With the Lions driving in the red zone and within striking distance as the last bit of time wound down, King said he was pleased that his defensive unit stepped up with the turnover on downs when the chance arose.
“We always talk to them about opportunity so the opportunity presented itself and we were able to get it so we were super excited about that,” King said.
On the other side, Scott knew there were some things to clean up and looked forward to getting back to the grindstone this summer.
“I feel pretty good about what we had and what we found out about ourselves. Defensively, we can put a group of guys out there that can play at the 7A level, but we’ve got to improve upon some things,” Scott said. “We gave up some plays that were uncharacteristic for us and hope we can eliminate those in the season. Offensively, we moved the ball and had some explosive plays and that was really good to see that.”
Nero punches in pair of scores on the ground for Lions
Some of the explosive plays went to rising senior receiver and Alabama commit Perry Thompson but it was running back Kolton Nero who provided a pair of rushing scores for Foley. Nero’s initial touchdown of 80 yards came on the Lions’ second play from scrimmage and his other came in the second period from 6 yards out.
“I saw our older guys go out there and really battle. On offense I saw our quarterback kind of start to understand what’s going on, he got some live shots but that was good for him to get that,” Scott said. “Hopefully we get some of that out of our system now and not later on.”
Dailey pulls down two touchdown grabs for Trojans
RJ Dailey matched Nero’s production and caught two touchdown passes from Landen Snow although both came in the first period. Dailey’s first scoring catch came from 5 yards out and the other was from 23 yards away.
“I thought our team came and competed,” King said. “In the spring you’re just trying to get a gauge and I think our guys came out with high energy and they came out to play. When times got tough, I saw them continue to compete and that’s what you want to see.”
The high school football season moves into its summer stretch where 7-on-7s and more offseason training will be held through June and July before the first official practices are held in the beginning of August.
Until then, both coaches said they had their eyes on what they wanted to focus on.
“It will be in special teams and also shoring up the defense and getting a little better there to get some more continuity there as well as really clean up some stuff on offense,” Scott said.
“Getting better, getting these younger guys better and getting depth,” King said. “You can get a good group out there but you need depth, you can’t survive — especially 7A Region 1 — without depth.”
“I think it was a great ending, you definitely want to end with success and I gauge success as leaving here and seeing smiling faces of guys walking in happy because they were able to compete,” King said.