It was payback in Capshaw
E. Limestone avenges 2006 loss to county rival Athens
By Brooke Milam
CAPSHAW — The overwhelmingly electric atmosphere at Cavnar Stadium when East Limestone High hosted county rival Athens on Saturday night was almost too much for Indians coach Jeff Pugh to handle.
“I walked outside before the game started and saw the fans, and I walked back in and had to calm the team down,” Pugh said. “I had to calm myself down.”
In the end, his Class 4A Indians made the statement they needed to make to begin the season with a 7-6 win over the 5A defending state champion Golden Eagles in front of a standing-room only crowd.
In the renewed rivalry, East Limestone avenged last season’s 44-15 loss at Athens Stadium.
“When people read it in the newspaper that we won, they’re not going to believe it,” Pugh said. “But I believe it. I think people know we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with, but we’re going to work hard to make sure it stays that way. Man, I’m so proud for this community.”
In a matchup of two traditionally high-scoring offenses, Athens coach Allen Creasy said it didn’t surprise him much that the score stayed low.
“A lot of rivalries are low-scoring games,” Creasy said. “It was two aggressive defensive teams tonight. We just took a little too long to get our defense going.”
Creasy said his team came out “tight” and “looking a little too much.”
As a result, East Limestone scored its only touchdown on a 7-yard run by senior tailback Jonathan Pinque midway through the first quarter.
Jacob Appleby added the extra point for a 7-0 lead. The score was still 7-0 at halftime.
But when Pugh glanced at his sidelines at the beginning of the third quarter, he saw his usual stars down.
“They were all cramping, six or seven of my main guys cramping up,” Pugh said. “We’ve done everything right. They were hydrated and stretched. I don’t know what happened. Our second-string guys kept playing — they didn’t quit. I just think we were meant to win tonight.”
Among the replacements, sophomore Cade Medley took over for fourth-year starting quarterback Chad Dewitt. Medley, who had no varsity game experience, quarterbacked the Indians in the second half for the win.
“(Medley) played like he had ice water in his veins,” Pugh said. “He didn’t just not get us beat.”
In addition to Dewitt, Pinque was out several plays in the second half, as was Sam Chaney, and receivers O’Neal King and Marvin Baker.
Pinque’s 50 yards rushing led East
Limestone, while Athens senior Robert Brown had a team-high 43 for the Golden Eagles.
Creasy said his team needing more running game, but was never able to establish a ground presence.
Athens lone touchdown came on senior Justin Brown’s 15-yard catch from senior Todd Pepper with two minutes to play.
Amid a swarm of Indian defenders, senior Greg Holley was credited with blocking the extra point that would have tied the game.
Medley managed the offense well in East Limestone’s final possession, using runs by Pinque and Jamie Baldwin to run out the clock and cap the win.
Athens (0-1) will travel to play a Class 5A, Region 8 game at Muscle Shoals (1-0) on Friday at 7 p.m., while East Limestone (1-0) will host Class 4A, Region 7 foe Priceville (0-1).
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