He carried Weaver defenders on his back, along with the fortunes of his team, picking up 11 yards to move the chains down to the Weaver 8-yard line.
The fourth quarter carry, punctuated by a primal scream Brown let loose as he walked back to the Yellow Jackets’ huddle, summed up the Bearcats’ effort in the loss. It was valiant and spirited, but ultimately not quite enough. The Alabama Sports Writers Association’s ninth-ranked team handed the Bearcats’ their first loss, 14-7.
“Glencoe is a great team,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of getting our defense off the field and our offense getting a little bit more production.”
Weaver (3-1, 3-1 Region 6) looked far removed from last year’s 35-7 beating at Glencoe in Hamby’s first season at the helm. Friday night the Bearcats built an early 7-0 lead before going scoreless the final three quarters against a Glencoe defense that was stifling red zone.
“Weaver’s a much improved football team. A lot of hype was made over this football game as far as what was going to happen, fights this, that and the other,” Glencoe coach Lee Ozmint said, referencing the budding rivalry between the schools following last year’s physical affair. “I’m gone tell you. Coach Hamby did a great job with his kids. This was one of the best, hardest fought football games I’ve ever had the privilege of being on the sidelines on.
“... They’re a good football team and we were fortunate to get by them tonight.”
After giving up a pair of quick first downs on the game’s opening series, Weaver’s Brandell Massey fumble to give his team possession at its own 45 with 10:18 remaining in the first.
Bearcats senior quarterback Brennan Ledbetter found wide receiver Drake Ledet for a 41-yard reception on Weaver’s first offensive down. Three plays later, a catch by Chris English got Weaver down to the Glencoe 1 and Chandler Fall punched it in from there to complete the 55-yard drive which took just 1:42. A successful extra point by Cody Morrison gave Weaver a 7-0 lead with 8:39 remaining in the first.
Glencoe responded in the second quarter, with a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Harry Bright to Chris Tinker on a fourth-and-goal to tie the game at 7 with 10:21 to play in the second. Brown scored on a 1-yard run with 4:07 left before the half to put the Yellow Jackets on top 14-7.
Bright completed 10 of 15 passes for 172 yards, including a touchdown and no interceptions while Brown led Glencoe in rushing with 70 yards and a touchdown on 25 tough carries.
Ledbetter threw for 218 yards, completing 11 of 24 attempts. Ledet, who finished with three catches for 161 yards, was his favorite target. However, Ledbetter threw two costly interceptions, including one to Devonta Toles on a tipped ball at the Glencoe 1 on Bearcats’ first possession of the third quarter.
Still, Weaver’s defense gave it a final shot to tie the game after denying Glencoe three plays inside the 10 and Bright missed a 27-yard field-goal.
But Weaver’s offense looked in disarray in its hurry-up set and flamed out in four downs after having the ball at their own 20 with 3:40 left.
“We gotta step it up on offense,” said Massey, who led the Bearcats with 68 yards on 11 carries. “We’ve got to get back on track on offense. Our defense is straight. But our offense has to get back right.”
Hamby said it felt like throwing darts in the dark at times in the second half as he and his staff searched for a something that’d work with consistency on offense, especially once they lost starting center Jeff Campbell to injury late in the first.
It’ll be something an obviously game Weaver team will work to figure out as they prepare to face Wellborn (3-1) on the road next week.
“I told the kids, ‘You better not hang your head too long because those boys at Wellborn are going to be ready to knock your head off’,” Hamby said.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.