SYLACAUGA – It wasn’t pretty, but the Sylacauga Aggies downed the Chilton County Tigers 28-27 at home to open the season in thrilling fashion.
Despite committing two fumbles on the night, the Aggies’ triple-option run game was enough to outpace the Tigers. Sophomore running back Alex Thomason turned in three rushing touchdowns on rushes of 1, 2 and 3 yards, respectively. Junior quarterback Jordan Daniel also turned in a touchdown run from 3 yards out. The game marked both players’ first times starting for Sylacauga.
The Aggies were able to maintain control throughout the first half, mostly on the back of Thomason, who finished with 93 rushing yards, three touchdowns and 5.2 yards per rush in the first two quarters alone. Still, heading into the second half, the Aggies maintained only a 21-14 lead.
Where Sylacauga was able to control the pace in the first half, however, they quickly fell back on their heels: The Tigers scored on their first play from scrimmage in the second half after returning the kickoff 52 yards to the Sylacauga 37.
Sylacauga was again able to jump back on top midway through the fourth off Daniel’s lone touchdown of the game.
The Aggies’ defense was unable to stop the potent Tiger offense on their next drive, however. Chilton County drove 12 plays and 68 yards. Tigers quarterback Anthony Chavez, who also kicked extra points, missed the point-after attempt, giving Sylacauga the permanent 28-27 lead. Neither team threatened to score again.
“We made some mistakes, but to get a hard-fought win like this, against tough kids at Chilton County – that’s a 6A program – we’ll take it,” said head coach Matt Griffith. “Now we just have to go back, correct some mistakes and get better.”
Overall, the Aggies committed nine penalties for 43 yards, muffed a punt and fumbled the ball away twice. Still, both the offense and defense made plays in critical moments. The defense forced four punts and a turnover on downs on the night.
Daniel and Thomason both turned in spectacular performances on the offense. Daniel went 4-for-7 and 66 yards, while Thomason ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
Still, Daniel is not letting the victory go to his head. He sees plenty of room for improvement, in his own play and for his team. With that said, Daniel said he was still pleased to start the season in the right direction.
“It’s a great game,” Daniel said. “It’s a great day to be an Aggie.”
Sylacauga’s next game will be vs. Springville on the road.
Contact Zac Al-Khateeb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff Writer Zac Al-Khateeb: 256-235-3554. On Twitter @zalkhateeb_Star.