The Model rushing attack took center stage Friday night as the Blue Devils grounded the Coosa Eagles 34-6 to move to 1-0 in Region 7-AA competition.
Model had been off since Sept. 25 and had its original region opener against Chattooga postponed, but Blue Devils head coach Jeff Hunnicutt said his side overcame the challenges.
“We have a lot to clean up. Kicking game, especially kickoff coverage is a concern,” Blue Devils head coach Jeff Hunnicutt said. “Offensive line play was very good I thought early. I thought we got a little bit tired. You can tell we’ve been out of the game for a little while.”
“We didn’t come out an execute like we’re capable of, but credit Model,” Eagles head coach Joey Mathis said. “They came out and jumped on us early. (They’re a) physical football team and we had to be able to match it and we just couldn’t early on.”
Model’s Joseph Wallace led the way offensively with 30 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He scored the Blue Devils’ opening points on a 7-yard touchdown run, then added a 3-yard scamper late in the first half.
“Wallace is a blue-collar kid,” Hunnicutt said. “We were getting 5-6 yards a carry and occasionally pop one for 12 (yards) early and we tried to stick with that early. (Coosa) did a good job of pressuring us on some passing downs that we didn’t pick up. Hats off to them as well for that.”
In between those two scores, Model quarterback Sam Silver broke through the Coosa secondary and cruised to the end zone on a 29-yard touchdown rush, extending Model’s edge to 14-0.
Coosa responded with its only points of the night on a fourth-and-1 play from 27 yards out. Senior Cameron Lowe took a handout, worked his way to the sideline and delivered the football to the house. The extra-point attempt would doink off the left upright, so Model held a 14-6 advantage with 5:04 to play in the first half.
Wallace’s TD, plus a rushing score from sophomore Drake Maynor and a Hunter King pick six would see the Blue Devils score the night’s remaining points.
Model’s defense contained Coosa’s rushing attack, as the Blue Devils surrendered just 50 yards of offense.
“Defensively is what we’re going to hang our hat on,” Hunnicutt said. “We’re going to be able to run the ball and we want to stop the run. Those two things are going to help us be successful.”
“That’s 100% on me,” Mathis said. “Offensive, defensive, special teams. Easiest thing to do is blame kids but it falls on one man, and that’s my shoulders. I’ll have us ready I hope next week. We’re gonna come to work Monday and be ready to go.”
“We just couldn’t find a way to generate anything,” Mathis continued. “It felt like we were a bit flat at times, but again, that kind of falls on me.”
Model prepares to welcome Dade County to Shannon while Coosa heads north to Summerville to battle the Chattooga Indians. Both games are scheduled for kickoff next Friday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m.