SPANISH FORT, Ala.—The Toros improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in 5A Region 2 with a shutout of Faith Academy on the Hill Friday night. The 54-0 welcome for the Rams was the second no-points-allowed posting by the Spanish Fort defense against region …
SPANISH FORT, Ala.—The Toros improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in 5A Region 2 with a shutout of Faith Academy on the Hill Friday night. The 54-0 welcome for the Rams was the second no-points-allowed posting by the Spanish Fort defense against region opponents. SF has outscored opponents 138-24.
Along the way, special teams and defense have added their share to the total. On Friday, return specialist LaDarrell Pettway took a pair of punts all the way with a 72 yarder through traffic in the first half and an 84 yard sideline sprint after intermission.
“We always like it when special teams or our defense gets points or turnovers for us,” said Toros head coach Mark Freeman. “It comes from hard work and effort from the kids and coaches to emphasize every phase can be just as big and important as offense. Last week the defense got us some extra points, this week special teams. He (Pettway) had a good night. He's a great kid and he's learning what he's capable of doing. He could have possibly had three punt returns for scores. But I made him fair catch one of their punts tonight. We needed to get some more work in on offense. We're getting better but we're not clicking yet. We've still got a long way to go to become a good football team. I'm proud of my kids, they had their mind focused on what they had to do tonight and got things done."
The Toros also scored 28 points from scrimmage in the first two quarters to lead 34-0 at the half.
Trey Shabel helped set up his own three-yard touchdown run with a short-pass reception from Tyler Johnston for 64 yards, Pettway’s first return—with Alexander Theodore’s second of six point-after kicks—made it 14-0 and Michael Howard burst up the middle for a 44-yard TD run to make it 21-0 to start the second quarter. Johnston then hit Kevin Marion for back-to-back TD passes of six and 27 yards before the half.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Johnston found Sammy Harris who finished the catch with a 44-yard score and Pettway’s 84 yarder made it a 48-0 game. In the fourth Deonte Cyprian added an 18-yard TD run for the final score.
Johnston threw one interception on an apparent mis-communicated route. The sophomore completed 13 passes including seven to Harris for 119 yards.
“I thought Tyler threw the ball well tonight,” Freeman said. “We had a mix up on the interception and I think he had a couple dropped that could have been caught. But overall we didn’t make a lot of mistakes. We just need to keep doing what we do and work on improving what we do. We are going to need to be better with some tough games coming up and next week at Fairhope will be a good test for us.”
Faith will hosts Escambia County next weekend. The Toros travel to W.C. Majors Field Friday to take on the Fairhope Pirates who are also undefeated in their 6A Region 2 league and 4-0 overall heading into week five. The non-region battle of the two Eastern Shore bookends will likely be a capacity-crowd, game-of-the-week atmosphere. Ear plugs are recommended.
"Adam (Winegarden, Fairhope head coach) and I are friends and in a lot of ways, his Fairhope kids remind me of our kids," Freeman said. "They're resilient and they give their team a chance to win every game. We don't talk about who we're playing next though. We just do what we do. We try to play up to the level of what we do."
The Toros will then restart the region stretch with a visit to St. Paul’s Episcopal Oct. 4 while the Pirates host Robertsdale.