Red Devils off to dominant start

Published 1:07 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

The defending state champions and unanimous No. 1 in Class 1A Maplesville Red Devils took their first step in defending their title on Friday night with a 54-7 season-opening win over the Ragland Purple Devils.

Jerry Nix wasted no time in putting the Red Devils on the scoreboard with a 90-yard kick off return of the opening kickoff. With John Schoener adding the point after, Maplesville took an early 7-0 lead.

Up in the air: Maplesville quarterback Cole Spencer leaps in an effort to avoid Ragland tacklers during Friday’s game. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

Up in the air: Maplesville quarterback Cole Spencer leaps in an effort to avoid Ragland tacklers during Friday’s game. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

After a quick three-and-out by the Purple Devils, a 39-yard punt return by Michael Harris set up the Red Devils with a first-and-goal at the Ragland 5.

The drive came up empty on a fourth down attempted pass to the end zone.

The Red Devils added one more late score, with 13 seconds to go in the first quarter, on a four-yard Terence Dunlap touchdown run.

Maplesville led 14-0 at the end of the first.

The Red Devil defense added six points of their own on the ensuing Ragland drive when a pop by Latravious Mixon caused the Purple Devils running back to cough up the ball, only to be scooped and scored by William Harrison.

Early in the second, the Red Devils led 21-0.

After another three-and-out by Ragland, the Red Devil offense struck again, this time on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Cole Spencer to Nathaniel Watson to put Maplesville up 28-0.

The Purple Devils finally got on the board with 6:45 left to go in the first half when Jadon Killings fielded the Maplesville kickoff at his own 18 and took it 82 yards for a Ragland touchdown.

The Red Devils tacked on one more before the half on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Spencer to Trevor Wallace to make the score 35-7 at the half.

After a scoreless third quarter, John Schoener scored on a 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth to make the score 47-7 Maplesville with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

With 2:51 left to play, a 56-yard touchdown run by Ryan Morrow brought the game to its final score of 54-7.

With multiple starters returning to a stingy Red Devil defense, the Purple Devils were held in check all night while staying in the red at negative-four yards of total offense.

“We are returning a lot of guys on defense, and they played hard,” Maplesville coach Brent Hubbert said. “It got sloppy for both sides late. It’s the first game of the year, it’s a little humid out here, and then when the score gets a little lopsided early the intensity and energy level drop and we have to be able to play four quarters. We have some work to do on offense. I didn’t think our run game was where it should be, but hopefully four days of practice next week will get us ready.”

Spencer completed five passes on nine attempts for 133 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Dunlap led the ground game with 77 yards on 11 carries.