Patriots get hurt on big plays and penalties
A fumble on the Patriot’s first offensive play proved to be a bad sign for how the rest of the night would go for Bob Jones. Decatur’s Shackleford ran for a 30 yard touchdown on the game’s next play. With the PAT, the score was 7-0 after 15 seconds into the game in front of a stunned packed house. The Patriots did not just give though, in fact, they charged backed with a vengeance. After moving the ball a little on their next possession, they punted on a 4th and 1. The Patriot defense stepped up and held Decatur to three plays before getting the ball back. Michael Dean broke a big run followed up back Max Martin blasting through the line for a 25 yard run. The PAT was good. The Patriots successfully completed a short kick off designed to catch the return team off guard. It did, the Patriots recovered a fumble and started their next possession on the Decatur 27 yard line. Max Martin pounded the ball down to the one yard line where Michael Dean pushed it across the goal line for the Patriot’s second touchdown in 3 minutes. The PAT was good and Bob Jones appeared to have the momentum. On the next kickoff, the Patriots attempted another short kick which failed. Decatur started their offensive possession at their own 40. After a couple of plays and penalties, Decatur’s French broke a few tackles and scampered 40 yards for a Red Raider score. The PAT was missed, leaving the score 14-13, Bob Jones with 2 minutes to go in the first quarter. Bob Jones failed to move the ball on their next possession and had to punt on 4th and long. Richard Gaiser punted well on the night averaging almost 40 yards on 8 punts.
The second quarter started the trend Bob Jones would not be able to turn around. The Patriots held the Red Raiders on the first set of downs but were trapped deep on their own 7 yard line after a good Decatur punt. After three plays, the Patriots punted the ball back where the Red Raiders marched down the field in 4 plays to score again. The scoring play was a 40 yard run by Shackleford in which the Patriots missed tackle opportunities. David Brown knocked down the 2 point attempt leaving the score 19-14 Decatur. The Red Raider kick-off sailed into the end zone which cannot be returned in Alabama High School football. The Patriots ran three plays which failed to earn 10 yards and punted the ball back to the Red Raiders. After two strong defensive plays, Decatur took a time out before running the next play. With 2:41 left in the half, backup quarterback Steven Leach threw a deep pass beyond the Patriot defenders to Decatur’s Adams for a touchdown score that seemed to break the Patriot’s spirit. Even though the PAT was missed, the momentum was definitely turning. Bob Jones failed to move the ball on their next possession as Decatur seemed content to run out the clock with a 25-14 halftime lead.
The third quarter started with Bob Jones having to put their tired defense back on the field and their top receiver nursing a worsening stomach virus. The Patriots attempted another short kick but it failed again. The Red Raiders ran a couple of plays when their junior running back Brandon French suffered a broken ankle. Decatur kept moving the ball as a tired and frustrated Patriot defense committed multiple personal fouls and mental errors. After walking off yards for penalties, Decatur scored again on a 7 yard pass from Leach to Dougherty combined with a successful PAT made the score 32-14 Decatur. Decatur successfully completed a short kick and recovered a Patriot fumble. The game was pretty much over at this point. Bob Jones committed 11 penalties for a total of 114 yards, lost three fumbles, and only ran 6 offensive plays in a span of over 14 minutes of play. Except for PATs, Decatur’s kicking game was very strong as well keeping the Patriot offensive deep in their own territory many times throughout the game. The Patriots will have to play much better without all the turnovers and penalties to compete with Minor at their place in next week’s second region game. By John Parkes