The UTV 44 Friday Night Rivals stayed with the action in 6A Region 1 again with the match-up between the Baldwin County Tigers and the St. Paul’s Saints. Both teams were coming off week two victories; St. Paul’s was an overtime thriller against Park Crossing. With 6A Region 1 being one of the toughest in the state, neither team wanted to give up a region loss.
St. Paul’s would get the ball first to start the game, starting from their own 19 yard line; the Saints would drive into Tigers territory. Baldwin County’s defense would get a stop with the Saints facing a 4th down with 12 yards to go when senior quarterback J Greene’s pass to junior receiver Javonte Graves-Billips fell incomplete. The Saints would turn the ball over on downs at the Tiger’s 35 yard line.
The Tigers would end up punting the ball away after the turnover on downs but on their next possessions, Baldwin County would gain some momentum. Facing their own 4th down with six yards to go from the St. Paul’s 40 yard line. Sophomore quarterback A.J. Mix would pick up the 1st down. On that same drive Mix would cap it off when he hooked up with senior receiver Martavious Crook for a 3 yard touchdown reception. The PAT was good and Baldwin County took a 7-0 lead with just under two minutes left in the 1st quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, St. Paul’s would fumble the kick and the Tigers recovered the ball. This series only took three plays for Mix to throw his second touchdown pass of the night. This one was to senior receiver Taiquan Williams. The PAT was good and the Tigers extended their lead 14-0 with less than a minute left in the 1st quarter.
With Saints giving up two touchdowns in less than two minutes, they needed to get the momentum on their side. They would find that momentum in quarterback J Green and running back Jordan Ingram. Green completed big passes to senior Bill Johnson and Graves-Billips. Jordan Ingram would finish the 68 yard drive when he would get into the end zone from 16 yards out. The PAT was good and the Saints cut the lead in half and were now only down 14-7 halfway through the 2nd quarter.
The Tigers offense continued to struggle against the Saints defense, senior and Auburn commit Daniel Allen-Foster had a big sack of Mix and the Tigers had to punt the ball away. Once again the Saints relied on Ingram to carry the offense. After getting the ball back, St. Paul’s drove down the field 74 yards on nine plays. Ingram finished the drive with his second touchdown run in the half, this one from 10 yards out. The PAT was good and the Saints now have tied the game up 14-14 with less than two minutes left in the 1st half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tigers’ sophomore Tai Mims fumbled the kickoff and St. Paul’s senior and Iowa commit Reggie Bracey was able to recover the ball at the Baldwin County 16 yard line. Three plays later, Ingram scored his third touchdown in the 1st half of the game. This score was from two yards out. The PAT was good and St. Paul’s took the lead 21-14 going into halftime.
Baldwin County would get the ball to start the second half but could not get anything going on the drive and would punt the ball away. The Saints would end up doing the same on their first drive.
Tiger’s senior running back James Stanley got Baldwin County driving when he ripped off a 34 yard run. The Saints defense would stop the Tigers forcing them into a fourth down with 11 yards to go. From the Saints 21 yard line, Mix would toss up a pass that Saints senior defensive back Julian Little would pick off at the St. Paul’s 8 yard line.
Following the interception, Ingram would get the Saints going again with another big run, this one for 42 yards. A few plays later J Greene would find junior receiver Will Passeau for a 25 yard touchdown reception. The PAT was good and now the Saints extended their lead 28-14 with just over two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Early in the 4th quarter, the Saints would have the ball again when Ingram had another big run, this one for 43 yards to get St. Paul’s down to the Tigers 15 yard line. Baldwin County’s defense would settle down and stop the Saints forcing them into a field goal attempt from 30 yards out. Tiger’s junior defensive back Keyon Palmer would get a hand on it and block the kick. The Tigers scooped up the ball and returned it to their 40 yard line. On the very next play Mix would hit Crook for a 60 yard reception to get down the Saints 1 yard line. Stanley would get the ball in end zone on the following play. The PAT was good and the Tigers were now down 28-21 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Later in the quarter, the Saints would have the ball and Tigers senior linebacker Jeffery Johnson made three consecutive stops himself to help Baldwin County get the ball back. With less than 3 minutes to go the Tigers offense would get their opportunity to try and tie the game. Stanley hauled in a 36 yard reception to get into Saints territory. And with 20 seconds left in the game the Tigers were facing a 4th down with 11 yards to go when Mix tried to connect with Williams but could not convert. The Saints would get out with the 28-21 victory over the Tigers.
Baldwin County falls to 1-2 on the year and 1-1 in the region. They have probably their toughest region game next as they prepare to host #1 ranked Saraland Spartans who are coming off a big 49-13 win over Daphne.
The Saints improve to 2-1 on the year and 1-0 in the region. St. Paul’s also has no time to rest as they set to prepare to host the talented #7 ranked Blount Leopards, who defeated the B.C. Rain Red Raiders 48-14.
Friday Night Rivals heads down to Theodore for the 7A Region 1 matchup between the undefeated Theodore Bobcats who are hosting the Fairhope Pirates, kick off will be 7PM on UTV44.