“High school football is all about momentum,” he said afterward.
His Aggies were the beneficiaries of a huge momentum swing just before halftime Friday night at Bill Morris Stadium to key a 28-0 victory over Moody.
Locked in a tight 7-0 battle with the Blue Devils (1-3, 0-3), Sylacauga (3-1, 2-1) had just missed a field goal to give Moody possession at its own 20. On third down, however, Sylacauga sophomore Rodney Gilbert jumped in front of a screen pass attempt from Moody’s Michael Barron; 15 yards and an extra point later, Sylacauga led 14-0.
Griffith called the swing “huge.”
“You’re in a 7-0 football game right there,” he said. “To be able to pick one and take it in, that was huge for us.”
Moody coach Jay Brown took the blame for the play.
“We’re in a situation where we wanted to go to the half down 7-0,” he said. “We wanted to just do something safe; if it wasn’t there, just eat it. But I made the call, so it’s my fault.”
The Aggies controlled much of the action on offense, amassing over 300 yards of offense on the ground. Emetrius Oden and Jamal Hatten led Sylacauga’s option-based attack, with 123 and 111 yards, respectively. Each scored a touchdown. Hatten added another 72 yards through the air on 7 completions.
“Jamal does a great job running our option,” Griffith said. “We threw the ball better tonight. Hopefully as the weeks go by, you’ll see him start to take control of this offense.”
Cheston Wesson also had a big night for Sylacauga, with eight carries for 34 yards and a score, and adding three pass receptions for 30 yards.
Barron led Moody’s offense, with 49 rushing yards on 15 carries, and 79 yards passing on seven completions. Sylacauga limited Moody to 183 total yards, and turned the Blue Devils away inside the 20-yard line three different times.
“I was proud of the way our defense fought,” Brown said. “Offensively we couldn’t seem to get anything going; we just didn’t execute. I’m proud of the way our defense fought the whole game, but I’m disappointed we couldn’t generate more offense.”
The Aggies took the opening kickoff and immediately rolled down the field 67 yards to take the lead. Oden capped the drive, going in from two yards out; Justin Roberts’ extra point made it 7-0.
After an Aggie fumble, Moody looked to tie the score, as Barron found Devante Williams for 28 yards to key a drive to the Sylacauga six-yard line. Williams caught three passes for 45 yards in the game.
On fourth-and-one, however, the Aggies stiffened, and Barron lost a yard on a quarterback sneak.
“To hold them there was just huge,” Griffith said.
On its first drive of the second half, Sylacauga put a stamp on the game, driving 70 yards in 7 plays to make the score 21-0. Wesson scored from six yards out, and the extra point made it 21-0.
Hatten scored the final touchdown of the game with just over 6 minutes to play, capping a 3-play drive with a 25-yard run.
“Every time we come to this stadium, Moody always plays Sylacauga tough,” Griffith said. “For this football team to come here and get a 28-0 win, we’re very happy with the way we played.”
The Aggies return home this week to face archrival Childersburg.
Moody drove inside Sylacauga’s 20-yard line twice in the second half, only to have the drives end on downs. The Blue Devils will face county foe Pell City on Friday at Bill Morris Stadium.
Contact Will Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.