‘Cats bludgeon Eufaula for 2nd straight region titlePublished 11:27pm Friday, October 25, 2013
Last season, the Benjamin Russell Wildcats needed every bit of 48 minutes to claim the Class 5A-Region 2 championship versus Eufaula.
This year, it took the Wildcats just under nine minutes of the first quarter to seal the deal, as the Class 5A No. 5 Wildcats destroyed the Tigers 42-6 to claim their second straight region championship.
“In the first half, we played about as well as we had all year,” said BRHS football Danny Horn.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 14-0 ead in the first quarter thanks to Bryant Horn, who scrambled in from the 9-yard-line to open up the scoring and found Q. Johnson from 22 yards out for another score on the Wildcats’ next drive.
Eufaula responded on its second possession, when it was able to springboard off a BRHS horse-collar penalty to find paydirt, thanks to a 8-yard touchdown catch by John Gilmore. The two-point attempt was no good, however.
The Wildcats responded on their next possession, as LaBrenikin Johnson chewed up 44 rushing yards on the drive, including a 4-yard touchdown plunge that put the Wildcats up by two scores.
“Number one, Eufaula’s got a pretty good team,” D. Horn said. “The biggest drive of the game was the drive we had after Eufaula went down and scored. I was really proud of how the team responded at that point.”
On the Tigers’ next drive, Tyrik Norris came up with a strip sack of Tigers’ quarterback Marcellas Butler, which led to the first of four turnovers forced by the Wildcats.
With an offense that was firing on all cylinders, the Wildcats’ defense punished the Tigers’ offense, accumulating four sacks in addition to the turnovers.
Butler and fellow Tigers quarterback Jaylin Robinson each exited the game early due to injury.
After Norris’ forced fumble was recovered by the Wildcats at the 15-yard line, Chase Burton punctuated the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run three plays later.
Short-yardage touchdown runs by B. Horn and Burton increased the team’s lead to 42-6.
D. Horn said he was pleased with the team’s physicality on the night, crediting the coaching staff for having the Wildcats ready to play.
“We preach being physical,” D. Horn said. “At this time of year, going into the playoffs you need to be physical, otherwise you won’t survive. Our coaching staff doesn’t get much credit, but I’ve got a great staff here. We’ve had great fan support, too.”
With the commanding win, Benjamin Russell is the first Class 5A-Region 2 team since Eufaula (2005-06) to win consecutive region crowns.
“What I like about this team is that we’re playing hard,” D. Horn said. “That’s something that’s instilled by the parents and everybody that’s involved. People don’t understand how hard it is to win a region championship, and it’s something that they’ll always remember. It’s something no one can take away from them.”
With the region title and at least one home playoff game locked up, the Wildcats now turn their attention to rival Homewood, which comes to Alexander City next Friday.
“They’ve got a great team,” D. Horn said of the Class 5A No. 4 Patriots. “But I think we’re pretty good ourselves. We’re going to strap it up and see what happens.”
B. Horn was 10-of-12 for 104 yards and a score. He also ran for 53 yards on seven carries and two scores.
LaBrenikin Johnson rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Burton had four carries for 16 yards and two scores.
In addition to a strip sack, Norris had one of the Wildcats’ two interceptions on the night. Diorte Russell had the other.