It’ll be one of the lasting – but certainly not only – images I’ll remember from covering this Arab football team.
It happened on the second play off the second quarter. Arab QB Ross Reynolds executed a perfect screen pass to big tight end Taylor Ferguson for a big play deep into North Jackson territory.
The officials, however, called an ineligible player downfield penalty against Arab. It was clearly a missed call and Arab’s coaches were screaming on the sidelines.
Not Rey-nolds. He calmly waved to the sideline and yelled, “It’s OK. We’ve got this.”
Mind you, Arab led just 7-6 at the time. North Jackson had stunned Arab by scoring a TD with 10:17 left in the opening quarter, then recovered an on-sides kick right after.
Arab’s hopes for a winning season hung in the balance. But now, the tide was turning and Reynolds, who the play before had converted a fourth-and-1 with a 5-yard run, must have sensed that. Arab’s offense was getting into high gear.
Arab did, indeed, have it, as Reynolds said.
After the penalty, Reynolds passed to Alex Alcala for 5 yards, then he went flying on a 12-yard run down to the 3, where Mathew Turnage scored on the next play for the first of his three rushing touchdowns.
Game over from that point on.
It was an example of the leadership Reynolds has shown all season, but that leadership has not been restricted to just him. All of the seniors have led by example and/or deed, and that’s why Ozmint calls then the cornerstone of the resurgent Arab football program.
Yes, Arab loses a lot of senior leadership and talent, but don’t look for this program to go anywhere but up from here.
• I’ve seen it all season, here and there, but one thing I keep noticing is what a great time manager Ozmint is. I’ve seen him let a clock run to the end of the quarter to get a favorable wind, and I’ve seen him call timeouts at the end of quarters to keep the wind in Arab’s favor.
Moreso than anything else, though, I’ve seen him be proactive in calling timeouts to give his offense one last chance at the end of the half or game.
• Oh what might have been. Here is the Detroit Tigers 2014 pitching rotation:
Justin Verlander: 2017 World Series champ; David Price: 2018 World Series champ; Rick Porcello: 2018 World Series champ; Max Scherzer: 2019 World Series champ; and Anibal Sanchez: 2019 World Series champ.