After storms wiped out Arab JV and junior high games last Tuesday, the teams have been busy, especially the seventh and eighth grade teams.
The junior high teams played their games against Gadsden City on Thursday, then came back Tuesday and played against Fort Payne.
The JV team also played Tuesday, losing to Fort Payne 20-0.
Fort Payne won the eighth grade game 18-12. The Junior Knights got on the board first when Jackson Cook connected with Luke Hudson on a 22-yard touchdown pass. The try for two failed.
The Wildcats answered with a touchdown pass of their own but the conversion failed as well.
The dagger for the Knights came with two seconds left in the half when J. P. Buffington caught a 36-yard TD pass despite being surrounded by several defenders.
Fort Payne went up 18-6 on a 1-yard run by Carter Blaylock with 27 seconds remaining in the third to cap a seven-play, 50-yard drive.
Arab responded with an impressive eight-play, 70-yard drive that began with a 23-yard run by Hudson and included passes from Cook to Hudson for 19 yards and Cook to Zac Hallman for 17 yards. Hudson got the touchdown on a 1-yard run with 4:02 remaining in the game.
Needless to say, it was a disappointing loss.
“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times tonight,” coach Jason Guger said. “We dropped balls, hit guys in the backfield on defense that they made plays on and the play they scored on before halftime was a real momentum swinger.
“The game was tied at that point but the guy made a good play. We played hard tonight, but we did not play fundamentally sound,” he said.
• 7th GRADE
Arab 16, Fort Payne 14
The evening didn’t start so good, but it ended well. On the first play from scrimmage, Kaiden Adams broke loose on a 70-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats and the two-point conversion gave them an 8-0 lead.
Midway through the second, the Knights got on track with a Davis Kinney touchdown pass. He then connected with Graham Grisham for the two-point conversion to tie the game. Adams got loose on another 70-yard score for the Wildcats but the two-point conversion was no good.
Kinney answered with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Grant Cole, then ran in the two-point conversion himself to give the Knights the lead.
Ty Babb stalled Fort Payne’s final attempts to score with back-to-back interceptions, one of those at Arab’s 21.
“The defense has really picked it up the last couple of weeks and they hung on and kept us in the ballgame tonight when things didn’t look good for us,” Guger said. “Fort Payne has a really good running back that’s extremely fast and we gave up the long run on the very first play of the game, but we were able to contain them a little better after that.
“We’re growing and we’re improving and hopefully we’ll continue to do that into the game next week.”
Arab plays at Scottsboro on Tuesday.
Gadsden City 20, Arab 0
With a massive offensive line and good speed in the backfield, the Titans appeared to have all the tools for a cruise through small town Alabama.
But, the Knights’ defense did not back down, stopping Gadsden City on downs on their second possession at Arab’s 13. But, their next drive lasted only one play as Kerrell Yow broke free on a 54-yard run with 7:29 left in the second quarter.
Arab finally got their first, first down minutes before the half ended and drove to the Titan 34 before running out of downs.
The Titans scored again with 40 seconds left in the third quarter on a five-play, 47-yard drive and scored again with 1:01 left in the game on a Yow run of 24 yards.
The Knights’ offense struggled to put together a consistent drive, but did find some success through the air as QB Jackson Cook was able to complete 9 of 22 passes for 75 yards.
“It was actually a great contest, 6-0. through most of the game,” Guger said. “We didn’t do very much offensively but defensively we played pretty well, especially through three quarters.”
When the Titans scored at the end of the game, Guger said it was a moot point.
“It didn’t really matter at that point,” he said. “They could have taken a knee but we were trying to get some guys some playing time. They had great team speed with some outstanding offensive linemen, but overall I was proud of our effort defensively.
“We just need to be a little more sound on offense.”
Gadsden City 6, Arab 0
A Robert Frazier interception deep in Arab territory led to the lone score of the game as the Titans drove 15 yards in five plays to get the win. QB Parker Damian scored from the 1 with 5:56 left in the game.
Arab was riddled with turnovers, fumbling away their first two offensive plays. The Knights gave up three fumbles and two interceptions, spoiling chance after chance to move the football.
Still, there was some improvement to be seen from the previous week. “The defense played outstanding,” said Guger. “For about three quarters, they played really well.
“Offensively, we’ve just got to do a better job of maintaining possession. Turnovers are something we address in practice every day and we do drills to try to prevent that. Whether it’s the snap to the quarterback, a handoff to a running back, a dropped ball after a pass – whatever, we’ve got to clean those things up.
“Overall the effort was great for our defense. I can’t brag on them enough. Hopefully that will continue and the offense will catch on.”