By Jake Winfrey and Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Coming off a 33-12 victory over Good Hope, the Eagles are looking to soar into the playoffs as they come upon the remaining three games of their schedule.
“The guys played really hard, sound football Friday night,” coach Alan Scott said. “We are looking forward to continuing that play into the next few games.”
Scott defeated his alma mater Friday night, but maintained that winning games, no matter whom they are against, is the biggest priority for him and his team.
“Good Hope will always have a place in my heart,” Scott said. “ I have a lot of respect for them, but it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the field as long as we get a win. That’s the most important thing for me.”
A bit piece of the Eagles’ success has been the wildly consistent play of Ty Jones and the offensive line.
Jones has four 200-yard rushing games so far this season, and Scott believes its been a two-way street when it comes to Vinemont’s success on offense.
“The line is doing an excellent job of coming off the ball and creating running lanes,” he said. “But, at the same time, Jones and (Tyler) Boland don’t need a lot of space to make things happen. Both of them have incredible ability.”
The Eagles will have a chance secure a playoff spot in the coming weeks as they take on Winfield and Winston County in their next two games.
Winfield is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, but Scott says the Pirates will pose a challenge to his team.
“They’re a really big, physical team,” Scott said. “It’ll be a big challenge for our defense to step up and make plays.”
Scott added that it would ultimately come down to his team making the plays.
“We just need to go take care of us,” he said. “If we do that and play hard, then we have a good shot of winning all our games.”
% Quarterback-in-waiting: With three starters kept out of Cullman’s homecoming blowout over Lawrence County Friday night, Mark Britton and his coaching staff got a chance to see what life will be like for the Bearcats when quarterback Zac Crocker graduates next May.
Four touchdowns, 16 completions in 21 attempts, 173 yards and zero turnovers later, let’s just say life will go on.
“He did a great job, kind of managed the game and kept things going,” Britton said of junior Tyler Glenn’s performance behind center. “I also thought Coach (Kenny) Gleaton did a good job calling the ballgame within the things he could operate.”
Britton was most impressed with Glenn’s ability to convert on third-down, specifically citing a third-and-11 completion to Branch Hill, as well as an authoritative toss on a stick route to get the night going.
“After that first pass, I knew he was going to be fine,” the coach said.
Quarterbacks generally get a majority of the spotlight, but they certainly don’t do all the work themselves. The offensive line and running backs provide the protection, and the receivers are responsible for catching what comes their way.
Neither of those facets were a problem for No. 10 Cullman versus the Red Devils.
Houston Turner caught touchdown passes of 30 and 16 yards, Wesley Hendrix scored on a 9-yard catch and Mason Goodwin accounted for Glenn’s last six-point play late in the ballgame.
“It helps when you’ve got receivers that have been there three years,” Britton said. “The offensive line gave him (Glenn) opportunities to throw and let plays develop.”
The Black and Gold’s other points came on a 20-yard run by Drew Johnson and a 38-yard field goal by Chris Grey.
Next up for the Bearcats is a road game against Athens this Friday. A win would lock up a playoff spot for Cullman heading into a Week 9 showdown versus top-ranked Muscle Shoals at home.
But first on the to-do list is the Golden Eagles, who have lost five straight games and have been heavily hampered by injuries to their first- and second-string quarterbacks.
“Right now, we’ve got to focus on Athens,” Britton said. “It’s a big region game, and we’re going to be on the road. You go on the road in this region, it’s an extremely tough task to walk away with a victory.”