Sylacauga edges region foe John Carroll, 31-30
by LaVonte Young
SYLACAUGA - TJ Green will always remember his last homecoming as a Sylacauga Aggie.

The senior scored the game-winning 67-yard touchdown on fourth down and 23 to give the Aggies a 31-30 victory over John Carroll in front of a spirited homecoming crowd at Legion Stadium on Friday night.

“It is unbelievable,” Green said. “I credit all to my team. Without their blocking and execution it wouldn’t have happened. We just got out there and got it done.”

The Cavaliers had opportunities late in the game, but the Aggies’ defense came away with big stops. On third down and 27, Green saved the game by deflecting a pass at the last second. John Carroll turned the ball over on downs on the next play.

“We will remember this forever,” Green said. “We did it for the fans and we did it for the city.”

With the win, Sylacauga improves to 4-0 on the season and most importantly, 3-0 in Class 5A Region 4 play.

“For us, we basically trailed most of the game by a touchdown to three points,” Sylacauga head coach Matt Griffith said. “We were down by one at halftime; we challenged our kids. John Carroll would not go away. We could never get the game comfortable. They led and we just had a heck of a play right there at the end to score. I am going to tell you I am very proud of my kids, but it is a shame somebody had to lose tonight.

“It must have been a great high school ballgame to watch; I don’t know how good it was to coach in. We feel very fortunate to be 4-0 and 3-0 in the region right now after beating a very, very good John Carroll team.”

The Aggies didn’t waste time putting points on the board. Sylacauga took the opening drive of the game 47 yards for a touchdown. Back-to-back runs by TJ Green and Hunter St. Johns gained 13 and 14 yard, respectively. Ian Floyd did the rest for the Aggies. The senior broke loose for an 18-yard gain down the 2. Floyd capped off the drive a few plays later as he sprinted around right end for a touchdown. The PAT was good to give Sylacauga 7-0 advantage with 10:16 left in the first quarter.

John Carroll took its opening drive of the game down to the Aggies 19 yard line, but ended the possession without any points as Trent Marshall missed a 34-yard field goal.

A short punt by the Aggies gave the Cavaliers the football at their own 45 yard line with a little over two minutes left in the first quarter.

Brandon Turner flew past Sylacauga defenders for a 38-yard run down to the Sylacauga 17 yard line. Kennith Johnson scored a few plays later on a 10-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good to tie the game up at 7-7 with 1:48 left in the quarter.

Sylacauga put together a three-play, 73-yard drive for a touchdown.

TJ Smith scored on a 21-yard run off an option pitch from Johns to make it 13-7. The PAT was blocked.

John Carroll scored right before halftime to take a 14-13 lead. On third-and-14 from the Aggies’ 24, Johnson caught a pass that bounced off a Sylacauga defender’s hand for a touchdown.

The Cavaliers carried the momentum they gained at the end of the first half into the third quarter. Johnson scored his third touchdown of the game as he went untouched for a 47-yard run to pay dirt. The PAT gave the Cavaliers a 21-13 lead.

Johns led the Aggies down the field for a touchdown to cut the John Carroll lead to 21-19 with 3:52 left in the third. Johns threw a strike to Brooks Jackson for a 16-yard gain to the Cavaliers 45 yard line. Johns also used his legs for runs of eight and 21 yards to set up first-and-goal from the 4 yard line. Floyd bulldozed his way into the end zone on the next play to make it 21-19. The 2-point conversion failed.

The Aggies’ defense forced the Cavaliers to a three-and-out on their next possession, but Sylacauga muffed the punt return and a John Carroll player recovered the football.

The Aggies’ defense held John Carroll to a Marshall 39-yard field goal, which increased the Cavaliers lead to 24-19 with 9:38 left in the game.

Sylacauga’s ground attack of Floyd, Johns and Smith carried the Aggies down the field for a touchdown.

On the opening play of the drive, Smith took the option pitch from Johns. The senior reversed field from the right to the left and ran for 26 yards. A few plays later, Floyd broke several tackles with a spin move to get free for a 26-yard run. Johns had back-to-back runs for 15 and six yards to set up first-and-goal from the 8. Floyd went around left end to score a touchdown to make it 26-24 with 7:13 left in the game.

Wesley Dismuke led the Cavaliers 66 yards down the field for a touchdown. Dismuke ran for 31 yards down the left sideline and was knocked out of bounds at the Aggies 2-yard line. He scored a few plays later on a keeper to make it 30-25.

“You give Sylacauga’s coaching staff and their players all the credit,” John Carroll head coach Chris Musso said. “They did a fantastic job fighting until the end. I thought our kids really brought it. We came one play short and that’s the way it happens some time.”

Johnson led the Cavaliers with 174 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Floyd led the Aggies with 157 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Johns recorded 106 yards rushing. He also passed for 126 yards and a touchdown. Smith rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown.

The Aggies will host Childersburg next Friday.
© 2012