Tough second half spells trouble for Verbena

Published 10:23 am Saturday, October 14, 2023

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Verbena High School fell just short of holding its lead in front of its homecoming crowd on Oct. 13, losing 30-22 to Calhoun High School.

The Red Devils led 22-0 at halftime, but allowed Calhoun to outscore them 30-0 in the second half.

Verbena was firing on all cylinders in the first half and Jacob Morris opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run nearing the end of the first quarter. Tomas Cabrera punched in the two-point run to make it 8-0.

Morris continued his dominating first half on both sides of the ball, intercepting a Calhoun pass near midfield to end the opening quarter. After that drive stalled, Verbena forced another turnover out of Calhoun, this one a fumble in Calhoun territory. It was Morris again capping the drive with a touchdown run, this one from 11 yards out and Lance Edwards’ two-point conversion made it 16-0.

The Red Devil added to their total just before halftime as Cabrera put the third rushing touchdown of the first half on the board to make it 22-0 at halftime.

“We had a really good game plan going in, and I think we executed it well in the first half,” Verbena head coach Allen Brothers said. “Our defense played tough, unfortunately we had a hard time with the speed of Calhoun and give them credit they adjusted on offense to five wide and threw the ball deep to their wide receivers, and their QB is very athletic.”

From there, it was all Calhoun. The teams traded fumbles to start the second half before Calhoun got on the board with its own rushing touchdown to make it 22-8 where it stood after three quarters.

Calhoun cut into the lead again shortly after the quarter change at 22-16, and then tied the game at 22 all midway through the quarter. The Tigers grabbed their first lead of the game, 30-22, with just five minutes on the clock leaving Verbena no time to respond.

“Our guys played hard and have grown a lot in the past few weeks,” Brothers said. “Obviously, a loss like that stings, but rebuilding is a process and takes time. We will continue to work hard and try our best to compete each week. I am proud of the effort and look forward to our growth as a team.”

Verbena (1-6) travels to Autaugaville High School on Oct. 20 for its next matchup, a AHSAA Class 1A Region 4 clash. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.