Arab’s eighth grade Jr. Knights were held scoreless and the seventh grade managed only one score, but coach Jason Guger left the field encouraged by his teams’ progress after Thursday night’s jamboree with Meridianville and Locust Fork at The Pit.
Each “game” consisted of two, seven-minute quarters. The seventh grade opened with an 8-0 win over Meridianville, then fell to Locust Fork 22-0, while the eighth grade faced Meridianville twice, with the teams battling to a 0-0 tie the first game before Arab fell 6-0 in the second on the last play of the game.
The seventh grade team scored on its first and only play from scrimmage as Logan Alldredge broke free on a 58-yard run for a touchdown with 1:33 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Drew Puccio, who showed plenty of promise for the Knights on both sides of the field, scored the two-point conversion.
The Eagles relied on a strong ground game to keep the ball away from the Knights, but were still unable to score.
Arab eighth grade QB Dylan Morrow completed 2-of-4 passes for 25 yards against the Eagles in their first matchup, and Andrew Williamson picked up 40 yards on eight carries. Morrow took a hard hit to the ground and had to the leave the second game, but Williamson did pick up 20 yards on six carries.
What looked to be another scoreless tie in the second game changed literally in the final seconds. Chris Douglas went around right end on a 37-yard touchdown run as time expired to give the Eagles the win.
Locust Fork, with new high school head coach Matt Plunkett involved on the sideline, also defeated Meridianville, 24-6. Plunkett played his high school ball at Arab.
“We’re a whole new team this year,” Guger said. “We have a couple of more players that didn’t play last year that came out and helped us and we also lost some kids that played last year that decided not to this year, but we’ve grown up over the summer and become better football players.”
While the coach would have liked to win more, he felt the jamboree served its purpose.
“It was a good night for us. We’ll watch the game film and improve from it but I was very proud of the effort,” he said.
Guger also thinks he will have more players that can be involved in the game.
“The depth is getting there. I think we have multiple guys that can get on the field,” he said.
“We’ve had great success with the junior high program and these guys are going to take on that role and hopefully have a good year.”