Reeltown caps off homecoming with shutoutPublished 11:53pm Friday, October 18, 2013
By Griffin Pritchard
Tallassee Tribune Managing Editor
During Thursday’s bonfire, Rebel football players apologized to the fans and faithful for their poor showing at Montgomery Academy.
“That’s not Rebel football.”
Isabella, Reeltown’s homecoming date, was introduced to Rebel football coming up on the short end of a 19-0 decision.
“It helps to have some kids back. Last week we were missing five kids that are instrumental in what we do, but I’ll tell you what – It was great to get a shutout. Defensively, we made some changes and it paid off for us,” said longtime Rebels football coach Jackie O’Neal.
The win secured a playoff spot for the Fightin’ Rebels (5-3, 4-2) as they host Lafayette next week on Senior night.
“I’m proud of them,” said O’Neal. “But we can’t stay on this rollercoaster that we’ve been on. We’ve got to start climbing the mountain and keep climbing. We’ve got to start getting better.”
Isabella (6-2, 4-2) hosts Montgomery Academy next week in the regional finale.
After forcing a Mustangs punt on their first possession, the Rebels took over and marched down the field scoring on a 24-yard pass from Cody Spivey to Devonte Ferrell in the end zone for the touchdown with 3:23 to go in the opening frame.
The Rebels extended their lead with a 7-yard Ariko Stewart touchdown run with 3:45 to go before intermission.
“It was a real tough night. We couldn’t get anything going early,” said coach Scott Booth, whose Mustangs were came into Friday’s affair averaging just shy of 30 points a game. “We just weren’t ready to play, and I guess that’s my fault.”
The Rebels marched again to start the third quarter but were turned away on a fourth and two pass into the end zone.
Isabella, under the shadow of their own uprights, struggled to move the football and were forced to punt.
It took Reeltown two plays to put the ball in the end zone. Donte Harris twisted and turned his way for a nine-yard gain down to the Isabella 19.
Cody Martin, on second down, took the handoff from Spivey and blasted through a hole in the Mustangs defense for the 19-yard touchdown run. Reeltown tried for two, but the pass was intercepted in the end zone.
Isabella, who had moved the ball on Reeltown’s defense in a series of fits and stops, finally seemed to be galloping in the right direction.
On second and long, early in the fourth quarter, Mustangs’ quarterback Willie Smith was flushed out of the pocket, stepped away from the blockers and threw a strike to his receiver who carried it in for what would have been a 45-yard pass and catch.
The score was negated by a holding call making setting Isabella up on a second and even longer at midfield. The ensuing punt, from their on 45 at this point, rolled dead at the Reeltown 1 yardline.
“We just got outmatched last week plain and simple,” said O’Neal. “We came out with a different attitude and then when you get a few players back, it helps you offensively and defensively. It really helped us momentum-wise. We are fortunate to get those kids back.”
On the first play from their end zone, Spivey connected with Jeremiah Webster on a 27-yard pass and then with Ethan Clark on a 19-yard toss.
The drive was stalled despite a 6-yard gain on a swing pass from Spivey to Jamon Matthews.
Isabella, with 3:00 left in the game, had one last gasp to make something happen. But after a pair of incomplete passes and a running back stuffed by the Rebels defense, the Mustangs were forced to punt.
Reeltown killed the clock to secure the victory.