SYLACAUGA -- After falling to Class 5A, No. 1 Central Clay County 27-22 on Friday, the first thing Sylacauga head coach Andrew Zow said was that his team ran out of time.
The first-year head coach wanted to use this matchup as a measuring stick for his team, and he was inspired by what he saw.
“We know where we are and we know what type of team that we have now,” Zow said. “I am super excited for the future and the rest of this season.
“I know that we are going to keep playing and keep getting better … We are going to make something happen for the rest of the year. What a great team that we played against. We played against the defending champions. Now, we have to go out there and prove it the rest of the year. That’s our slogan, ‘Prove it.’ We didn’t do it tonight, but I guarantee they know who we are now.”
The Vols showed why they are the two-time defending state champions as they forced two turnovers that led to 14 points.
The Aggies’ second turnover came at an inopportune time -- after they had just forced a turnover in the red zone. Sylacauga gave the ball right back as Maleek Pope fumbled, the Vols recovered at the Aggies’ 25-yard line.
Central Clay County’s Elisha McNeil would score a few plays later on a 24-yard run to make it 27-15 with 10:01 left.
Sylacauga cut into the lead as Brayson Edwards threw a short pass to Pope, who went 76 yards for a touchdown and pull his team within 27-22 with 5:33 go.
Central Clay County’s offense responded by racking up first downs, which helped the Vols seal the victory.
Three to know
-- Edwards had a big game for Sylacauga. The junior signal-caller threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Edwards connected with Luke Vincent for a 36-yard TD in the third quarter.
-- The Aggies had a chance to go into the locker room at halftime with a 9-7 lead, but Dontavius Ware fumbled, and the ball was recovered by a Central Clay defender at the 46-yard line. McNeil scored on a 21-yard run to make it 14-9 with 36.4 left in the second period.
-- Pope’s streak of rushing over 140 yards came to an end Friday. Central Clay County held the junior running back to 67 yards and a touchdown.
Central Clay County head coach Danny Horn on the win:
”First, I would like to congratulate them because they have a very good team,” Horn said. “Coach Zow has done an excellent job with them. The players are playing hard. I knew coming over here that we were in for a battle. We hurt ourselves a lot offensively with penalties. Defensively, we gave up the long ball. But we have to give them credit, they executed, too. It was a good high school football game.”
Zow on Edwards’ performance
“The quarterback played better, and he will continue to get better,” Zow said. “He has some things that he needs to work on, he knows it and I know it. I feel that without those turnovers, we are a lot better than what we showed tonight.”
Sylacauga (2-1,0-1 Class 5A, Region 4) travels to take on Tallassee on Friday.
Central Clay County (3-0,1-0 5A, Region 4)) hosts Elmore County on Friday.