Verbena seniors help end program’s losing streak

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

After losing 12 consecutive games, any kind of win is exciting.

But Verbena could not have asked for a more meaningful win than the one it earned last week against Winterboro, 20-19.

The streak-snapping victory came on the program’s Senior Night, where the current class of seniors was recognized at its last home game of the season.

Nick Adams, Jon Cleckler, Jared Mims and Jacob Wilson were honored before the game and then did the things necessary on the field to go out as winners.

“I don’t try to take anything away or add anything during the week just because it’s Senior Night, but I had talked to them about it–what they’ll remember, what it means,” Verbena coach Mike Harris said. “It was very special for me. These are four super, super young men.”

As the squad’s quarterback and linebacker, Mims’ exploits were particularly noticeable, as he ran for a touchdown and threw what would turn out to be the game-winning 13-yard touchdown pass to Christian Agee on a fourth down play in the fourth quarter.

“He did a good job all the way around,” Harris said. “He never comes off the field.”

The win was also special because of how the Red Devils had to come back in the game, which could be seen as a parallel to how the team has had to overcome adversity this season.

Visiting Winterboro scored on its first three possessions to take a 19-0 lead.

Verbena struck with 2 seconds left in the first half on a 64-yard halfback pass from Chris Cook to Juwan Tyus.

“We go in at halftime, and the first thing I told them was, ‘We’re back in the game now,” Harris said.

Harris said VHS made some halftime adjustments, especially with how the defensive line was lining up and the blocking assignments for the offensive front.

“It’s like we always tell them: If we do the little things right, the other things will take care of themselves,” Harris said.

Verbena’s defense settled into the game in the second half, ending two Winterboro drives with fumble recoveries and two more by stopping the Bulldogs on downs.

“I was proud of the kids,” Harris said. “They kept coming. They had some big running backs, and tackling had a been a problem for us all year.”

But VHS still had to score points.

A drive in the fourth quarter seemed destined for the end zone, but the Devils found themselves facing a fourth down at Winterboro’s 13-yard line. That’s when Mims passed to Christian Agee for six points with 1:40 left on the clock.

Raymond Bulger’s interception with less than 1 minute to play sealed the win and started the celebration.