Brantley edges Eagles in offensive shootout
Published 11:47 pm Friday, October 30, 2015
By Dan Smith
BRANTLEY, AL – The text of four state championships and multiple runners-up is painted on the side of the Brantley Bulldog field house, the written testament to the many, many great games that have been played in David Lowery Stadium. As both teams knelt at midfield following a wild 55-48 Brantley win over the Goshen Eagles in overtime, Brantley head coach Ashley Kilcrease spoke for everyone as he addressed all coaches and players of both teams.
“I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” said Kilcrease.
Those were surely the same sentiments of a majority of all players, coaches, fans and anyone who had the privilege of seeing small-town Alabama football at its finest, with the explosive 2A Goshen Eagles hitting their stride going into the playoffs, and the 7th ranked Class 1A Brantley Bulldogs showing why their junior quarterback Jacob Free is already a Division I recruit drawing deserved attention.
While individual stats were not available at press time, Goshen’s Zack Alford ran for four touchdowns, Brantley’s Free passed for five touchdowns and ran for two more, while his favorite receiver Tommy Spivey scored four TD’s, and Goshen’s Brock Snyder scored three.
The total yardage combine for both teams was well over 1,000 and slightly under one mile.
Although Goshen may have come up short on the scoreboard, head coach Bart Snyder could not have been any more proud of how his men gave everything they had and left everything on the field.
“We are extremely proud of that, and can’t ask for any more from them,” Snyder said. “However we made a lot of mistakes that gave them opportunities to win the ballgame. You can’t leave that many opportunities for great teams like that with a great, great quarterback. That Jacob Free – the passes he threw down the field – the average quarterback in high school does not make those throws, especially in 1A ball.”
Goshen had won three consecutive games heading into Friday’s contest, and jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half.
Sophomore Eagle running back Zack Alford had a monster night, and his runs set up many first-half scores. Goshen quarterback Brock Snyder scored from the 2-yard line for the first touchdown to begin the second quarter, with Brian Redmon kicking the extra point.
Snyder scored from 1-yard out with 7:23 to play in the first half, and again from 1-yard out with 1:04 to play before halftime. Snyder then connected with Iyan Hinkle for a 2-point conversion, and Goshen led 21-0.
With six seconds remaining in the first half, Free hit junior wide receiver Spivey for a beautiful 36-yard TD strike , and the extra point made it 21-7.
Brantley kicked off to Goshen, and Alford picked the ball off the turf at his own 10 and sprinted down the right sideline for a 90-yard touchdown run, and a 27-7 Goshen lead as time expired in the first half.
The Bulldogs quickly mounted a comeback to open the third quarter, with Spivey returning the opening kick for a touchdown to make it 27-13, and on the first play of Brantley’s next possession, Free hit Brandon Frazier for a 15-yard touchdown pass and the score was 27-19.
Goshen started their next possession at their own 33, and on the first play Alford broke a 67-yard touchdown run, and the extra point made the score 34-19 Goshen.
Brantley cut the lead to 34-26 on another Free pass to Spivey, but the Eagles scored three plays later on a 53-yard run by Alford, putting Goshen ahead 41-26 with 6:07 to play in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs scored two more times to cut the lead to 41-40 as Free hit Nathan Renfroe for a 64-yard bomb, and after a Goshen three-and-out, Free connected once again with Spivey for a 46-yard TD strike.
The fourth quarter began with Goshen driving from their 45 to a touchdown, again with Alford taking it in from 5-yards out and it was 48-40 with 7:19 to play in the game.
Brantley then took the ball and Free moved his team 57-yards for the game-scoring tie at 48-48, with a powerful run around left end from 9-yards out, and then hit Spivey in the end zone for the two-point conversion with 3:40 to play in the game.
Neither team was able to score in the final minutes, forcing overtime. Brantley got the ball first and scored a touchdown on a 1-yard carry by Free, and the extra point was good for the 55-48 lead.
Goshen picked up a short gain on their first offensive play, but the ball was jarred loose on the next play and Brantley recovered to seal the win.
Brantley Head Coach Ashley Kilcrease was impressed with the inspired play of Goshen, and was proud of the effort and fight of his team.
“Goshen obviously came out more ready than we did, and played a great first half,” Coach Kilcrease said. “You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. We had won six in a row, and honestly I think we had got to a point to where we thought we could just coast in and win, but we are not good enough to do that.
“But I am so proud of our kids. The score right before the first half was huge. Even though they ran the kickoff back, it gave us momentum and we came back to start the second half. I just can’t say enough about our effort. It was amazing. We never quit. I was just so proud of them.”
Brantley, ending the regular season at 8-2, will host A.L. Johnson in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs next Friday, while Goshen 4-6, is on the road in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs at Washington County.