The UTV 44 Game of the Week traveled across the bay for the 6A Region 1 matchup that feature the Spanish Fort Toros against the #7 ranked Daphne Trojans. The Toros for the second straight year, will have to rebound following an opening week loss to McGill-Toolen. The Trojans are looking to continue their winning ways after a week 1 road victory over Davidson.
Neither team could put a drive together on their first possessions, which Daphne went three plays and out on their opening series. But on their second series, the Trojans got some help from the visiting Toros when Spanish Fort’s Ryan Duff shanked the punt that only went 2 yards. Three plays later Daphne’s senior quarterback, Chance Newman found the end zone on a 24 yard run. The PAT was good and Daphne took the 7-0 lead almost half way through the first quarter.
Both defenses were standing strong as neither team could find the end zone much less get the ball down field, but late in the 1st half saw the Toros find the momentum. With less than two minutes to go in the half, the Trojans were forced to punt from their own 23 yard line. Spanish Fort was able to block the punt which rolled into and out the back of the end zone and the Toros were on the board with a safety, they now trailed 7-2 with less than 90 seconds in the half.
On the ensuing free kick, Spanish Fort’s junior running back Conner Hegan retuned the kick 49 yards to the Daphne 30 yard line. Trying to get into the end zone, Toros’ senior quarterback Jack Samsel had a pass tipped in the end zone by junior defensive back Ja’Juan Myles. On their third down play, Samsel was sacked by senior defensive end Jack Cushman leaving the Toros with a 4th down and 11 yards to go. Head coach Ben Blackmon called on his junior kicker Matt Quin to attempt the 50 yard field goal with twenty seconds left in the half. The kick was good and Spanish Fort went into the locker room at half time trailing 7-5.
The second half played the same as the first with both teams exchanging punts and neither offense putting together any kind of drive against either stingy defense.
Late in the 3rd quarter, the Trojans was able to put together a 52 yard drive that stalled inside the red zone. Head coach Kenny King called on his kicker, junior Diego Guajardo. The Trojans did not have the same success as Guajardo missed the 26 yard field goal, but the Trojans still held on with the 7-5 lead with less than two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
The Toros got the ball following the missed FG. Hegan helped the Toros with a 14 yard run to get to the Trojan 30 yard line, but the drive would stall there. Quinn came out to attempt the 52 yard field goal, but the kick was short.
On their next possession, the Toros again would get into Daphne territory, but as with the previous possessions they had the same outcome. The Trojans were able to stop the drive and looked for Quinn to attempt his third field goal of the night. This one from 49 yards out was long enough but was wide to the right.
Forcing the Trojans to punt again, Spanish Fort would get the ball back with less than three minutes left in the game still trailing 7-5 to Daphne. Hegan again would spark the offense with a 26 yard run to the Daphne 9 yard line. Hegan would finish the night with 10 carries for 76 yards. Hegan would take the ball two more times, but the Trojans defense stood tall not allowing him to get into the end zone. For the fourth time in the game, Spanish Fort looked to Quinn to kick the field goal. This one was from 16 yards out and as time expired on clock, Quinn made the kick to give the Toros the 8-7 victory over Daphne.
Coach King will have to work hard to move his team on from this loss as they now have to prepare for another tough region game as they go back on the road to face one of the top quarterbacks in Jack West who is leading an undefeated Saraland Spartan team.
Spanish Fort extends the winning streak against the Trojans to three straight victories against them. They will head back to the Hill and prepare for a region game against Gulf Shores that is looking for their first victory of the season.
Tune in this Friday as the UTV44 High School Game of the Week will showcase one of the oldest rivalries in the state of Alabama with the Battle of the Cannon. The Murphy Panthers will face the #5 ranked McGill-Toolen Yellow Jackets. Kick off will be 7PM on UTV44.