Kicking game aids Maplesville comeback

Published 4:55 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For the second consecutive season, it took seven games before Maplesville trailed an opponent, and both times Pickens County was able to draw first blood against the Red Devils.

Maplesville came back and won both games, but the Devils’ response this season shows how much the team has matured.

“Last year at their place, we got behind and I saw a little fear in our guys’ eyes,” MHS coach Brent Hubbert said. “This year, I didn’t see that. They just stuck with what we needed to do.”

This time, the Devils turned to an underappreciated aspect of the game, special teams, to not only pull ahead of Pickens but to bury them last week, 47-26.

Maplesville (7-0 overall, 5-0 in Class 1A, Region 4) tied the game at 7 on a 1-yard Brintain Hill run with just under 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Devils then recovered the ensuing kickoff on a tactic practiced each week: Brandon Morrow kicks the ball high and short toward the sideline.

“We consider it an onside kick,” Hubbert said. “With the speed we have on the kickoff team, we feel like if we can get it out there to somebody who’s not used to catching the ball then we’re going to have a chance to get on it.”

Alex Payne and Cameron Andrews did just that, with the latter recovery coming with 6:49 on the clock in the second quarter and leading to a 22-yard Cameron Morrow touchdown run that brought the score to 32-19 and put doubt in the minds of the Tornadoes.

For good measure, Maplesville also recovered a Pickens onside attempt in the first quarter, and Morrow blocked a punt that led to a touchdown early in the second quarter.

It was the kind of response Hubbert wanted to see from his team.

Units other than special teams were clicking also. The MHS offensive line paved the way for Hill and Morrow to combine for almost 200 yards and five scores on the ground.

Quarterback Colby Chambers needed to throw only nine passes, though he completed five of those attempts for 105 yards.

He was also instrumental in changing plays at the line of scrimmage based on how the Pickens defense lined up, helping the Maplesville offense grind away and keep the Tornadoes’ explosive attack on the sideline.

The Devils have no time to enjoy the win, though, as perhaps the second most challenging game on the schedule will be played Friday night at region foe Autaugaville.