November 9, 2001. Brewton Municipal Stadium. Game Conditions: Clear, light wind Game temperature: 61, dropping steadily
Defending 4A State champ T.R. Miller began their assault on a second straight championship by scoring three first quarter touchdowns and adding 15 points in the last 92 seconds of the first half as they took command early, ending the St. James Trojans' season with a convincing 50-27 first round playoff victory. Miller's vaunted running back Jayvon Howard did not play a down on offense, but he wasn't really needed.
The Tigers began their second possession on their own 49 yard line. Runs of 17 and 18 yards by Antwan Gomez, a 15 yard run by Ledarryl Wesley, and a 1 yard burst by Skylar Fountain had Miller on the board. Patrick Byrne, starting quarterback who also doubled as all-around kick specialist, booted his first extra point and the Tigers were up 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
Despite a long kickoff return on one of the few Byrne kickoffs which did not reach the endzone, St. James was forced to punt. A face mask penalty helped keep the Tiger drive alive, and Fountain picked up his second touchdown, this time from 29 yards out. Byrne's conversion gave T.R. Miller a 14-0 lead. St. James next went three and out, and the Tigers scored two plays later on a 26 yard run by Gomez. This time the extra point was deflected wide, but Miller had a 20-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
St. James did manage several first downs on their next drive, but turned the ball over on downs at the Tiger 47. Shortly thereafter, Byrne attempted a 54 yard field goal which easily had the distance, but was wide left. After an interception, a Miller punt, and a St. James punt, the Tigers were driving again but lost the ball on downs at the Trojan 4. However, the Tiger defense stiffened and sacked Trojan QB Alan Craft for a safety with 48 seconds remaining in the half, giving Miller a 22-0 lead. The ensuing free kick from the 20 was returned to the Trojan 38, where it took only one play for Byrne to connect with wide receiver Juan Johnson streaking down the middle for a back-breaking touchdown. The conversion gave Miller a 29-0 halftime lead.
The Trojans nevertheless came out of the halftime break inspired, and recovering the opening onside kick after bouncing off a front line Tiger gave them some badly needed momentum. Nathan Yates had runs of 11, 0, and 41 before Ted Brewer crashed in from the 3 giving the Trojans their first score of the game. Darneille's extra point was wide, but St. James was finally on the board at 29-6.
A second onside kick try was unsuccessful, and Miller was in the endzone three plays later on a 44 yard run by Gomez. Byrne's kick extended the Tiger lead to 36-6. On the third play of the Trojans' next drive, they executed the most beautiful offensive play of the season. On third and 11 from the St. James 19, Craft tossed a short pass to Alex Howell who perfectly timed a lateral after his catch to Josh Thomas on the 'hook and ladder' play. Thomas outrushed two defenders who had converged on Howell, and scampered down the sidelines for 73 yards and a touchdown. A Craft pass to a wide open Zack Smith on the conversion again cut the gap, this time to 36-14, with still over 9 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After another onside kick failed, the Tigers added another score almost instantly on a 37 yard touchdown run by Wesley, and despite a 15 yard penalty on the extra point, Byrne converted for a 43-14 Miller lead.
The second string Tigers added a seventh game touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 39 yard run by Kirk Brown, bumping the lead to 50-14. St. James did manage two late scores. After a Miller fumble deep in Trojan territory, St. James managed an 83 yard drive highlighted by Ted Brewer runs of 12 and 38, and Nathan Yates runs of 17 and 8 for the touchdown. A two point conversion pass was incomplete, making the score 50-20. The ensuing kickoff dribbled down to the one yard line, where the returner was surprised the ball did not trickle into the endzone, and the ball was pounced on by St. James at the one yard line. Alan Craft finished off a great career and touchdown-generating season with a quarterback sneak on the next play, and Darneille's extra point resulted in the final score of 50-27, setting an all-time St. James record for most points scored by both teams in one game combined, of 77.
GAME ELEVEN SIDELINE STATISTICS:
ST. JAMES RUSHING 55 attempts 252 yards 4 TDs (4.58 yards per carry)
7 / 101 (1
/ 80 (1 TD)
20 / 80 (1
1 Brock 4 / 20 17 Debardelaben 1 / - 2 10 Craft 11 / - 27 (1 TD)
PASSING 2 completions 8 attempts 1 INT 17 yards 0 TDs (3 sacks of, - 27 yards)
Craft 2 - 8 -
1 17 yards (3 sacks, - 27)
2 / 17
TOTAL YARDS: 269
KICKS: XP 1 /
FG 0 / 0
2 POINT CONVERSIONS: 1 / 2
KICKOFFS: 6 (33,5,10,6,59,58) PUNTS: 5 (27,35,39,33,33)
KO RETURNS: 2 (33,22) PUNT RETURNS: 1 (0fc)
FIRST DOWNS: 15 (14 rushing, 1 penalty)
FUMBLES: 2, lost 1
TURNOVER MARGIN: + 1
PENALTIES: 4 / 50 yards
TIME OF POSSESSION: 26:50
T.R. MILLER RUSHING 38
attempts 329 yards 6 TDs (8.66 yards per carry)
PASSING 3 completions 13 attempts 0 INTs 68 yards 1 TD (no sacks of)
TOTAL YARDS: 397
RETURN TO THE STJ 2001 FOOTBALL HOMEPAGE