Stanhope wins season opener; Lanier falls to Northview
By Art Parker
MILLBROOK - Despite sloppy play, Stanhope Elmore (6A) was strong enough to handle visiting Marbury (5A), 49-7, Thursday in the season opener at Foshee-Henderson Stadium.
"We made too many mistakes but some of that is to be expected in the first game of the season," Stanhope coach Jeff Foshee said. "Our guys tried very hard and it was good to see our defense make the big plays. That’s something we will need in the games to come."
Elijah Reeves intercepted one pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown and Willie Ezell intercepted Marbury quarterbacks twice. Reeves also delivered a vicious blow on a blitz knocking Marbury quarterback Blake Davies out of the game and causing a fumble recovered by Ronald Davis.
Reggie McCrary and Jacob Claxton ran for short yardage touchdowns in the first half.
The play that knocked the last wind from the Marbury sails came at 1:24 in second quarter. After Ezell’s second interception Mustangs quarterback Jaryus Wilson connected with Mike Brown on an 80-yard touchdown pass that made the halftime score 28-7.
The Mustangs wasted no time increasing the lead in the second half and scored on the third play from scrimmage in the third quarter when Jeremy Powers rambled into the Bulldogs end zone from 31 yards out.
The Mustangs showed a bit of trickery on their next possession. Faced with fourth down and 2 yards to go from the Stanhope 46 yard line, Cortez Williams took a short snap while lined up as the blocking back in punt formation and raced into the end zone. At 9:50 in the fourth quarter, Dominique Alexander nabbed the fourth Mustangs interception of the night and returned it 82 yards, untouched, for the final score of the game.
Angel Vasquez was a perfect 7-for-7 on extra point attempts for the Mustangs.
Stanhope Elmore travels to Pelham next week for the start of region play. Marbury also opens region play against Benjamin Russell.
Lanier falls to Northview
The Northview Cougars spoiled the head coaching debut of Clayton C.J. Harris with a convincing 42-14 win at Cramton Bowl on Thursday.
The Poets jumped out to a 6-0 lead after recovering an onside kick. Quarterback Deandre Bibb lobbed a touchdown pass to Javoris Lacey with less than two minutes gone in the game.
But turnovers and missed opportunities would rule the rest of the evening for the Poets.
"Turnovers (killed us)," Harris said. "We played a great first quarter but didn’t capitalized on our chances. Physically I believe we can play with anybody but we have to change our mindset."
Lanier had another chance to score on the ensuing kickoff when the Cougars fumbled the ball away. But the Poets were unable to convert.
From there, Northview took over scoring 42 unanswered points. The Cougars scored twice on field goals by Zach Shira and Lanier handed them the lead with a safety and an interception and 88-yard return by Michael Reynolds. That set up a 4-yard score by Turner Vincent.
Lanier would trail 35-6 at halftime. Lacey scored the only other touchdown with 2:44 remaining in the game.
"We moved the football but couldn’t sustain anything," Harris said.
The Poets open region play next Friday at Smiths Station.