Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Austin High's T.T. Mallard, left, grabs a second-quarter touchdown in the Black Bears 43-28 loss to Florence in Ogle Stadium on Friday night. K.D. Edenfield (2) defends on the play.
Austin can't overcome mistakes to Florence
By Josh Cooper
email@example.com · 340-2460
Two blown coverages in 21 seconds. That’s all it took Friday night at Ogle Stadium.
Florence parlayed two Austin miscues into 12 quick points and defeated the Black Bears 43-28.
“At worst, we should have been in the ball game,” Austin coach David Norwood said. “We made too many mistakes. They capitalized, and we didn’t play well enough to win.”
The loss drops Austin to 1-2, including 0-2 in Class 6A, Region 8, and with another region game against Sparkman next week, the Black Bears are looking for answers.
“I really don’t know what’s wrong,” Austin quarterback Justin Jones said. “On Monday, we are going to have to start over new.”
Austin’s downfall came near the four-minute mark of the third quarter.
The Falcons scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion on the first drive of the second half to go ahead 25-21.
After a Black Bears’ punt on the first possession of the second half, the Austin defense forced a third-and-15 play from the Falcons’ 18-yard line.
Quarterback Chad Willis dropped back to pass, seeing Damien Simmons open on the left side of the field.
As the ball left Willis’ hand, Austin tried to cut off the pass in between Willis and Simmons in an attempt to intercept it. Willis beat the coverage, caught the ball and sped down the sideline for an 82-yard touchdown play with 3:31 left in the quarter.
That gave Florence a 31-21 lead. Then, Falcons defensive back Jevin Reed followed with an interception at Austin’s 35-yard line.
On the ensuing play, Willis found wide receiver Chris Simpson uncovered, running down the middle of the field for the 35-yard touchdown strike. That gave Florence a 37-21 lead with 3:10 left in the quarter.
“We gave up 12 points in 21 seconds because of two blown coverages,” Norwood said.
There were moments when it appeared Austin could get back into the contest. An 11-play drive to the Florence 18-yard line culminated in a fourth-and-one fumble on a handoff.
The Black Bears then held Florence on the next drive, forcing them to give up the ball on a change of downs, only to be intercepted two plays later by Falcons’ defensive back K.D. Edenfield. Jones completed 20 of 36 for 257 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while T.T. Mallard had 210 yards of total offense for the Black Bears. Mallard had 10 receptions for 150 yards, and a 60-yard running play on Austin’s first drive.
Overall, Austin had 400 yards of total offense, but gave up 462 yards to Florence. Willis was 15-of-21 passing for 272 yards with three touchdowns, while running back Shawn Southward had 16 rushes for 130 yards and one touchdown.
“We played well enough on offense to win,” Norwood said. “But we didn’t play well enough on defense.”
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