Head coach Jason Howard said the players got Monday and Tuesday off from weight training. Workouts begin anew today.
“We’ve got to hit the weight room, got to get bigger and got to get faster. … Come Wednesday, we’ll start getting ready for next year,” Howard said Tuesday afternoon.
The Talladega County Central game was the final high school game for Spring Garden’s five seniors – Kyle Barfield, Hunter Bondie, Hunter Crider, Zach Dobbs and Will Ivey. What was expected to be a rebuilding year became even more challenging as injuries started early for the Panthers and continued even to the season finale.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them, all the adversity that they went through this year. To win three games and be close in several others, that’s just a tribute to their character,” Howard said. “I was very, very proud of this year’s senior group.”
Against TCC, tailback Kyle Reece was injured in the first half and Ivey, who moved from quarterback to fullback to tailback during the year, was forced out early in the fourth quarter.
“That sums it up right there,” said Howard of his team’s injury-plagued season. “Beats all I’ve ever seen.”
Talladega County Central led 6-0 after one quarter and added a second score and a 2-point conversion with 3:34 left in the second quarter.
Andrew McLarty, only recently returned from a lengthy rehab stint, kicked a 28-yard field goal for Spring Garden with no time left on the clock. A roughing the kicker penalty against TCC gave McLarty a second opportunity for the field goal and he took full advantage.
The Tigers pushed their lead to 22-3 three minutes into the third quarter.
Ivey responded for Spring Garden on a 1-yard run with 57 seconds remaining in the third and McLarty’s boot cut the Panthers’ deficit to 22-10. TCC added another touchdown and 2-point conversion early in the fourth quarter.
Reece ran 10 times for 53 yards prior to his injury. Will Ivey had 22 carries for 48 yards. He completed one pass to McLarty for eight yards.
Quintin Downey and freshman Dawson Broome, who went to fullback in the adjustments after Matt Mullinax was injured against Cedar Bluff and Reece in the TCC game, each rushed for 39 yards. Downey ran 12 times and Broome 11.
Chase Jennings gained 27 yards on five carries. At quarterback, freshman Ben Ivey completed a 7-yard pass to his older brother, Will.
Will Ivey led the defensive effort with six tackles. Barfield, Bondie, Broome, McLarty and Ben Ivey each had two tackles.