Verbena too much for rival Thorsby

Published 11:34 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

Verbena’s Tristan Short (No. 12) runs into the line of scrimmage and the Thorsby defense on Friday. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall / Special)

Verbena’s Tristan Short (No. 12) runs into the line of scrimmage and the Thorsby defense on Friday. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall / Special)

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

A regional rivalry game came down to a few big plays on Friday night in a 21-6 win for the Verbena Red Devils over the Thorsby Rebels.

Winning the opening coin toss, the Rebels looked poised to strike first with their opening drive, but the drive would stall inside the red zone where they would turn the ball over after an incomplete fourth down pass to the end zone.

Taking over at their own twenty-yard line, the Red Devils (2-1 Overall; 2-0 Region) marched 80 yards on a drive that ended on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Tristan Short to Hakeem Underwood to give Verbena a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

A Rebels (1-3, 1-1) turnover on a pass intercepted by Imanai Walls would set up another Verbena scoring drive as a 34-yard touchdown pass from Short to Juwan Tyus extended the Verbena lead to fourteen with 9:18 to play in the first half.

Verbena made three for three in the first half, as they scored yet again with their third possession of the game when Short would connect with Anthony Miller for a 30-yard touchdown to give the Red Devils a 21-0 halftime lead.

After a quick three and out by both teams to start the second half, a fourth and twelve punt by the Red Devils saw the addition of two 15-yard penalties on Verbena that would set Thorsby up inside the red zone.

Starting the drive at the Verbena 6 yard line, the Rebels moved backwards on their first three plays but picked up a pair of penalties to keep the drive alive.

Facing a fourth and one from their own 6 yard line, Rebel quarterback Michael Fortner would find Logan Patterson in the end zone to put Thorsby on the board and made the score 21-6 with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter.

With just 2:11 to play in the game the Rebels looked to be on the verge of making it a one score game with a drive that started out at their own 25 yard line, but a fourth and eight pass attempt from the Verbena 23 fell incomplete turning the ball over one downs.

With 2:22 to play and the Rebels out of time outs, a pair of kneels by Short would gave the Red Devils a big regional and rivalry win.

“We played well in the first half and then had a couple of guys get hurt and we don’t have a lot of depth and that really hurt us in the second half,” said Verbena head coach Mike Harris. “We finally played a little defense. We stepped up and hit a little bit, that was something that we worked on hard this week. We played hard, and played a lot of younger kids. I am proud of the effort and very proud of the kids.”

Miller led the Red Devils on offense with 68 yards on 15 carries and three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Verbena was led on defense by Cole Headley with 13 tackles.

Christin Brown led the Thorsby offense with 127 yards on 24 carries while Jarret Price led the defense with 11 tackles.