Football in Alabama officially kicked off last week, and many high school athletes began feeling the relief of playing the beloved sport once again.
For Auburn High, the season-opener was a joyous one as the Tigers routed the Park Crossing Thunderbirds. Auburn and Park Crossing have only played three times, with the Tigers leading the series 3-0.
The Tigers got out to a quick start Friday as JT Rodgers ran the ball in for the first score of the night.
Auburn’s Josh Owsley would then go on to kick a 12-yard field goal to make it 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers would add to their lead with Rodgers running in for a 16-yard touchdown.
Quarterback Matthew Caldwell completed an 80-yard touchdown pass late in the second to put Auburn up 24-0.
But before the Tigers could walk away with a shutout half, Park Crossing scored on a three-yard run with 1:34 on the clock. After a missed 2-point conversion, the score at the half was 24-6 Auburn
It would be the Thunderbirds who would strike first in the third quarter and this time they would successfully convert the 2-point conversion.
Despite their efforts, Auburn would score twice more, missing one of their extra points, to make it 44-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Auburn would open the fourth with the defense putting points on the board by way of a safety. The Tigers led 46-14 before two final scores from Park Crossing in the final few minutes of the game gave the Thunderbirds a 14-point boost with a final score of 46-28.
Next week the Tigers will take on their rival Opelika, which is coming off a 20-17 win over Stanhope-Elmore. The Tigers will be looking to avenge last-year’s loss in Duck-Samford Stadium. The game will be on Friday with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
Lee-Scott drops opener
For Lee-Scott Academy, it was a bittersweet start to the football season last week.
While the Warriors were finally able to knock pads with another team, it came in a 48-7 loss to Chambers Academy.
First-year LSA head coach Buster Daniel officially has one game under his belt and while he was disappointed with the loss, he said he knows his team’s biggest issues can be corrected.
“The biggest issue is we just didn’t play a whole lot,” said Daniel.
Chambers Academy came into the game having made it to the third round of the AISA playoffs in 2019, and looking to return again this season.
The Rebels got off to a quick start, scoring two rushing touchdowns to make it 14-0 in the first quarter. A few more passing touchdowns for Chambers Academy as well as a kick return for a touchdown to open the third quarter made the hill too difficult to climb for the Warriors.
Nevertheless, it was Lee-Scott who had the last say as the Warriors scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to prevent the shutout.”
Despite the loss, Daniel had high praises for his quarterback Tate McKelvey, who threw Lee-Scott’s lone touchdown for the game.
“Our QB played an outstanding game,” said Daniel. “We just have to have help around him.”
Going into the game, many wondered how the new regulations would affect the game, but according to coach Daniel, not much felt different.
“The gameplay was fine; I don’t think it affected the game at all other than having fewer people in the sideline,” he said.
Next week, the Warriors will take an off week to put this loss behind them as they turn their attention to Glenwood, a team coming off of a 37-25 win over Bessemer Academy.
It will be the first road test for the Warriors but coach Daniel feels they need to focus on fixing themselves right now before they focus on anything else.
“We can’t worry about them, we have to focus on our own effort and going all in every play,” said Daniel.
The Warriors head into a bye week before traveling to Glenwood on Sept. 4. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.