Woodard’s interception seals 16-13 win for Daphne over rival Fairhope

Trojans hoist Jubilee Cup for first time since 2020 behind rushing touchdowns from Clark, Malone

Sports Editor
Posted 10/14/23

FAIRHOPE — Daphne senior defensive back Al Woodard called game with an interception in the final minute to preserve the Trojans’ 16-13, rivalry win over the Fairhope Pirates within Class …

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Woodard’s interception seals 16-13 win for Daphne over rival Fairhope

Trojans hoist Jubilee Cup for first time since 2020 behind rushing touchdowns from Clark, Malone


FAIRHOPE — Daphne senior defensive back Al Woodard called game with an interception in the final minute to preserve the Trojans’ 16-13, rivalry win over the Fairhope Pirates within Class 7A Region 1 Friday night.

After a failed fake punt left Fairhope on the Daphne 45-yard line with 1:18 remaining, junior quarterback Jackson Robertson connected with sophomores Bryon Martin then Fisher Southall for a first down at the Trojans’ 34-yard line as time ticked under a minute. Robertson was looking for Southall again, but an overthrow led it directly to the hands of Woodard instead who nearly saw the opportunity slip away.

“I just focused on my technique and was reading my keys then I saw the ball so I was like, ‘It’s time to be ball hawk.’ And I caught it and made sure I tucked it in,” Woodard said after the game. “At first, I bobbled it so I was like, ‘I can’t drop this,’ and then I made sure I secured it then the offense finished it off for us.”

Trojans hoist Jubilee Cup for first time since 2020

After junior quarterback Jamar Malone settled down his team and executed the victory formation, Daphne was awarded the Jubilee Cup for the first time since 2020 and extended its overall lead in the rivalry to 25-10.

“We haven’t seen it in a while, so we’re excited about having it,” Trojan head football coach Kenny King said. “All we preached about is make sure at the end of the day when it’s game over, we have one more point than they do.”

King’s team was able to that by forcing two Pirate field goals on two trips to the red zone where Fairhope reached inside the 10-yard line both times but had penalties push them away. Pirate senior Campbell MacKellar’s field goals of 37 and 29 yards capped 15-play, 80-yard scoring drives.

“I thought the defense did a great job of bowing up,” King said. “They came out and started off the game great, then as we went on, they bent but didn’t break.”

The Daphne defense also provided a safety to the point-scoring efforts with a sack in the end zone from junior Marquaes Lambert on 3rd and 6. Fairhope senior Nolan Phillips stole an interception but was downed at the Pirates’ 1-yard line. Despite an offsides from the Trojan defense, the unit came back to swarm Robertson in the end zone for two points.

Clark, Malone run to pay dirt

On the other side of the ball, Daphne senior running back Nick Clark got the visitors on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before finishing the job in the fourth quarter with carries on eight of the final 11 plays from scrimmage.

“Nick Clark did a heck of a job, we got some big catches at the beginning but looking at Nick Clark in the second half, he started pounding it,” King said.

Clark’s quarterback Malone joined him in hitting pay dirt with a short-yardage score on the Trojans’ first drive of the second half. A pair of first-down connections to senior John Davis, and a facemask at the end of a Malone run, got Daphne to the doorstep and the signal-caller had a simple thought looking at the goal line.

“It was very big, I was just trying to help out the team. When you’re a competitor, you want the ball and you want to put the ball in the end zone so I wanted to call my own number and it happened,” Malone said. “I was pretty excited all I wanted to do was let out a scream.”

Daphne executes halftime message

After the Trojans let a lead slip away just two weeks ago against the Spanish Fort Toros, both Woodard and Malone said the coaches had a specific mantra during Friday’s halftime intermission

“Keep your foot on their necks because Spanish Fort came back so we just had to keep the foot on their necks,” Woodard said.

“We have a lead and we’ve been here before,” Malone said. “We’ve actually lost it a couple of times so just take advantage of the opportunity that we have and keep your foot on their neck and keep competing.”

Trojans take win to ship

The Trojans were able to do just that before celebrating their rivalry win on the pirate ship in the southeast end zone of Fairhope Municipal Stadium, even if it was short-lived.

“It was lit, last time we played here we lost so this is my first time winning here on varsity,” Woodard said.

While Malone is an out-of-state transfer, his new Daphne teammates brought him up to speed on who their biggest rivals are.

“Coming here, I didn’t really know much about the rivalries we had. But they were telling me all during this week that this is a big rivalry. When we came here for our JV and middle school games, we already told ourselves if we win, we’re going up on that ship,” Malone said. “The moment was crazy, being on the ship while they were trying to kick us off, it was amazing.”

Fairhope falls in second straight rivalry matchup

Friday served as another back-and-forth battle with one of the Pirates’ rivals after a 21-17 contest against Foley on the road last week. Head coach Tim Carter said once again he was proud of his team’s effort.

“Two straight weeks of rivalry games that we had a chance to win, and that’s hats off to our two rivals but I’m just so proud, our kids don’t quit and keep fighting. We were down by 13 points tonight and fought back and gave ourselves a chance so I’m really proud of their effort,” Carter said. “Daphne’s got a good team and their new quarterback who transferred in definitely makes a difference for them and of course, I’ll be glad to see Nick Clark graduate.”

While Clark and Malone headline the Trojans’ unit, Carter also knew slowing them down would be a tall task.

“We had a couple of opportunities, but I thought we played really well. We gave up 14 points to their offense and gave up a safety so if you can hold a team like that with that much firepower offensively to two touchdowns that’s a pretty good night,” Carter said. “It was a great game and they’ve come down to this a lot in recent years.”

Up next

Daphne improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in region play with a home game scheduled against No. 4 Mary G. Montgomery (8-0, 5-0) on its Week 9 docket.

Fairhope fell to 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the region standings with a road trip to face Alma-Bryant (2-5, 0-4) next Friday night.

Money quotes

“We were so proud because we worked all offseason for this moment and then it finally came in one of the biggest games against Fairhope, our rival,” Woodard said. “I just want to thank all my teammates and all my coaches for believing in me and I’m proud of our effort.”

“The defense was amazing, they helped us out. We didn’t put a lot of points on the board today, but they came in they helped us out tonight,” Malone said. “They did what they needed to do and they did their job. Props to the defense, they were the real MVP tonight.”

“Gets us back on track and puts us in a situation to move forward and try to make that playoff run,” King said. “We tell our guys to keep working and keep working and that’s what they did tonight.”

“They’re learning a lot about adversity and they’re going to be better men because of what they’re going through,” Carter said. “We wish we were undefeated but were not and I’m going to tell you that we’re playing our best football right now.”

Other Week 8 finals

Bayside Academy 35, Orange Beach 14

Foley 35, Alma-Bryant 22

No. 1 Gulf Shores 55, Elberta 7

No. 1 Saraland 56, Baldwin County 7

Spanish Fort 41, McGill-Toolen 19

St. Michael 45, Wilcox Central 6

St. Paul’s 54, Robertsdale 14

Wilcox Academy 48, Snook Christian 7