Two big passing plays and two key turnovers allowed the Model Blue Devils to build a massive first-quarter lead and cruise to a 37-7 homecoming win over Region 7-AA foe Coosa on Friday night.
The Blue Devils came out firing from the start, as quarterback Dillon Silver took the opening snap, lateraled the ball to tailback Jermaine Campbell who then tossed a pass to Amir Pinkard. Pinkard scampered for 35 yards to the Eagles’ 4-yard line.
Tailback Jeremiah Gamble rambled 4 yards on the next play for the opening touchdown and a 7-0 Blue Devil lead.
Two possessions later, Silver completed a nice downfield pass to Daniel Jolly who cut underneath one defender and outraced two others to the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown and a 13-0 Model lead after a missed extra point.
The Eagles fumbled on their next possession, and Model’s Brant Pace recovered it at the Coosa 40. Four plays later Silver dove over the goal line from 1 yard out to up the lead to 20-0. Pace intercepted an Eagles’ pass on the next possession and two plays later Silver sprinted 3 yards for another touchdown.
All told, when the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter, the Blue Devils had staked themselves to a 27-0 lead.
“I told the kids that this is the line of scrimmage that I thought we had. We played well up front,” Model coach Jeff Hunnicutt said. “We were really concerned about Coosa’s size, but I thought we handled them up front fairly successfully.”
After Model’s defense forced another Coosa three and out, the Blue Devils executed a 12-play drive ending on a nice 29-yard touchdown pass from Silver to Pinkard. Silver caused the defensive backs to bite on a nice pump fake before hitting Pinkard with the big pass, giving the Blue Devils a 34-0 lead.
Model kicker Daniel Veillon finished the first half scoring off by drilling a 21-yard field goal as time expired to give Model a 37-0 halftime advantage.
Silver finished the first half completing 5 of 6 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns as well as rushing four times for 24 yards and two touchdowns.
“Dillon has had a few struggles throwing the ball recently. I think one of our coaches jumped on him for missing that first pass, and then I don’t think he missed another,” Hunnicutt said. “Dillon’s a great kid and a great leader, and he’s going to continue to improve.”
While Model’s offense cruised down the field, the Blue Devils defense proved quite stingy, forcing the two turnovers and not allowing Coosa’s offense a first down until the waning moments of the first half.
“We try to make things simple for our kids (on defense). We just ask them to read and react and run relentlessly to the ball,” Hunnicutt said. “We did’t do that last week, and we really harped on it this week.”
Despite the big lead and a running clock in the second half, Coosa refused to fold. The Eagles managed two sustained drives in the second half with the final drive culminating in a 3-yard touchdown from Dalton Denton late in the fourth quarter, cutting the Model lead to 37-7.
Coosa tailback Darahjae Hames managed to tally 79 yards for the game and also had a long kickoff return in the first half for the Eagles. Campbell led the Blue Devils in rushing with 45 yards on seven carries plus he threw the big opening 35-yard pass.
Jolly finished with two catches for 85 yards and a touchdown and Pinkard finished with two catches for 64 yards and a score.
The win moves Model to 2-4 and 1-1 in Region 7-AA, while Coosa falls to 0-6 and 0-1 in Region 7-AA. Next week, Model travels to Dade County, while Coosa returns home to play Chattooga
“It’s great to get a region win. We’re back in the saddle at 1-1, but we do have a tough Dade team next week,” Hunnicutt said.