Isabella overcomes slow start, earns region win at Verbena

Published 1:20 am Saturday, October 11, 2014

Plowing through: Isabella quarterback Tyler Smith rushes for some of his 85 yards on one of his 15 carries during Friday’s game at Verbena.

Plowing through: Isabella quarterback Tyler Smith rushes for some of his 85 yards on one of his 15 carries during Friday’s game at Verbena.

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

A standing room only crowd at Red Devil Stadium on Friday night got its money’s worth as Verbena lost a thriller to Isabella, 22-14.

An Eric Mims five-yard touchdown run capped off an 80-yard drive for the Red Devils (3-4 overall, 1-3 region) on their second possession of the game to give Verbena a 6-0 lead.

Hakeem Underwood added the two-point conversion, and with 2:39 remaining in the first quarter, the Red Devils had an 8-0 lead.

Verbena’s lead was short-lived as Isabella (5-1, 3-1) answered right back on its ensuing possession.

Facing a third down-and-three on the Verbena 4-yard line, Jacob Carroll punched it into the end zone to draw Isabella to within two points of the lead.

Carroll also converted the two-point conversion to bring the game to an 8-all tie.

Underwood broke the tie game on a 53-yard touchdown run on the Red Devils’ opening drive of the second half, but the two-point conversion attempt was an incomplete pass, leaving the score at 14-8 Verbena.

Two Isabella possessions later, a Tyler Smith 10-yard touchdown run tied the game again, this time at 14-all.

With C.J. LeCroy’s point-after up and good, Isabella took a 15-14 lead with 1:55 to go in the third quarter.

With a mix of runs and passes, the Mustangs marched 60 yards to a Smith two-yard touchdown run. LeCroy’s extra point made the score 22-14 with 7:16 left to play.

Facing a fourth-and-four at their own 24 late in the game, a Mustangs penalty for a horsecollar tackle gave the Red Devils a first down at their own 36.

Two clock-stopping spikes and a sack by Jason Buchanan put the Red Devils in a fourth-and-14 from their own 48.

Quarterback Tristan Short rolled out on a pass attempt, but pressure from the Mustangs defense resulted in a fumble recovered by Isabella with just 27 seconds left to play.

Two kneels by Smith, and the Mustangs had earned a much-needed area victory.

“Verbena came out ready to play, and we didn’t,” Isabella coach Scott Booth said. “I had to re-motivate our guys at the half, and we came out the second half and played a lot more physical. Hats off to Verbena. They have a good ballclub.”

With Billingsley’s win Friday over Notasulga, Isabella’s win sets up an important region game in two weeks when the Mustangs host Notasulga for second place in the region.

Smith led the Mustangs with 85 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Underwood led the Red Devils with 106 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.