It was pretty cut and dry for Vinemont entering Friday night’s home game against Winfield.
A win would keep its playoff hopes alive, whereas a loss would end the Eagles’ bid for back-to-back postseason appearances.
Unfortunately for coach Alan Scott’s squad, the latter came to fruition.
Vinemont (3-5, 2-4 in Class 3A, Region 7) let a few too many opportunities pass by and couldn’t quite make enough plays on the defensive side of the ball, as the Red and White dropped its fifth straight game with a 35-6 loss to the Pirates (5-3, 4-2).
Winfield punched its ticket to November football with the win.
“I felt like we had our chances tonight,” Scott said. “Obviously, when you're driving the ball, you’ve got to make big plays. I felt like our kids played hard, and I'm proud of them. I hate that it turned out the way it did.”
Winfield set the tone early, driving the ball 70 yards on eight plays before quarterback Dean Dawson found the end zone for the Pirates on a 1-yard sneak to give his team an early 7-0 lead.
After a couple of stalled drives by each squad, Vinemont’s John Michael Dye scampered 88 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 7-6 early in the second quarter.
However, a couple of Winfield touchdowns — a 3-yard run by Will Boyd and an 8-yard dash by Xavier McCollum — sandwiched around a failed Eagle drive inside the Black and Gold’s 30-yard line allowed the Pirates to stretch their halftime lead to 21-6.
Field position plagued Vinemont all game long. The Eagles began four drives inside their own 10-yard line, while Winfield’s worst starting point of the contest was its own 28.
“The thing about this game is we coaches try to make it about X's and O's, but what it comes down to is blocking, tackling, field position and turnovers,” Scott said. “Those are the things that win ball games and will continue to win ballgames in the future.”
The Red and White had two early chances to get back into the thick of things in the third quarter. However, a big drop on third down combined with failure to take advantage of a Pirate turnover kept the deficit at 13 points late into the stanza.
Shortly after, Dawson found wideout Matt Gamble on a 30-yard scoring strike one play after Winfield blocked a punt.
From there, it was simply a matter of running out the clock and preserving the victory for the Black and Gold.
Dye finished the game with 202 yards and the Eagles’ lone score on 27 carries. However, the sophomore was limited to just two yards on six carries in the second half. He also caught three passes for 13 yards in the loss.
Quarterback Garrett Boland completed 6 of 16 passes for 77 yards and an interception. The freshman also picked off a pass on defense. Taylor Evans and Orey Woods combined for 43 yards on 14 totes, while Garrett Sipe caught one pass for 40 yards.
Winfield’s Dawson was the main culprit against Vinemont, as the senior signal-caller accounted for 270 total yards and three scores in the runaway victory.
Although the loss means no playoffs for the Eagles, Scott hopes his players will lace up their cleats the next two Friday nights and come out showing some pride for their school.
“We've just got to finish,” the third-year coach said. “There's football to be played. We've got to go on the road next week, but we get to play in this stadium one more time. I'm really hoping these seniors go out, play well and win these last two games.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.