Etowah gets by Albertvillle 35-32 in 5A, Region 7 game
Fri. September 16, 2011 at 11:58 p.m. | By Andrew Schmidt Sports Writer
ATTALLA — A 5-yard touchdown run by Devin Horton with 51 seconds to play capped off a clutch Etowah scoring drive and lifted the Blue Devils to a 35-32 Class 5A, Region 7 win in The Gadsden Times’ Game of the Week.
Horton’s scamper around left end was the finishing touch on a 16-play, 70-yard drive that immediately answered a go-ahead score by the Aggies (3-1, 2-1). The Blue Devils (3-1, 2-1) converted three fourth downs on the final march, with quarterback Dalton Wadley rushing to pick up one and connecting with wide receiver Darrin Peterson to convert the other two.
Peterson finished the night with 200 yards receiving on nine catches and two touchdown grabs. He also had a 58-yard touchdown run. Horton ended the night with 92 yards on 16 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Wadley rushed nine times for 60 yards to go with his 227 passing yards.
Albertville nearly escaped with a comeback win. The Aggies trailed 28-17 to start the fourth quarter, but scored on a pair of touchdown passes from Drew Norris to Stephen Thornbury. The second covered 29 yards and gave the Aggies the lead with 5:07 to play.
After Etowah answered with Horton’s score, Norris hit Thornbury on a pair of quick passes to move the ball to the Etowah 37 with 13 seconds left. However, Norris’ final two attempts went incomplete, and Etowah escaped with the win.
Norris finished 10 of 19 for 108 yards. Thornbury had five catches for 70 yards. Tailback Jaron Looney finished with 175 yards rushing on 26 carries with a pair of scores. He managed 133 of those yards in the first half.
The opening half was all about big plays, with each side recording its fair share.
Looney got the show started with a jaw-dropping 50-yard touchdown run on Albertville’s opening possession of the game. During the run down the right side, Looney leaped clear over an Etowah defender trying to go low for the tackle and raced the remaining 30 yards for the score.
Etowah answered two possessions later. On the first play after an Aggie punt, Peterson motioned into the backfield before taking an option pitch from Wadley. Peterson then raced 58 yards down the right side to even the game two plays into the second quarter.
Five minutes later, Horton scored another Etowah touchdown, also on the first play of a drive. Horton’s run covered 65 yards and went down the left side before he cut back to the right to avoid an Albertville defender and ease into the end zone for a 14-7 lead.
The Aggies tied things up on their ensuing drive when Looney scored on a 5-yard touchdown run off left tackle. The score was set up by a 46-yard run by Looney two plays earlier.
Etowah then took the kickoff and marched 63 yards in nine plays, with Wadley connecting with Peterson on a 12-yard touchdown to cap the drive and stake the Blue Devils to a 21-14 lead with 2:22 left in the opening half.
Albertville tacked on a 31-yard field goal by Nathan Spence as the first half clock expired. The score was aided by a pair of 15-yard penalties on Etowah, including a roughing the passer on a fourth-down throw that fell incomplete.
Peterson added a 75-yard touchdown catch from Wadley with 3:09 to play in the third. The score marked the third time in the game that Etowah reached the end zone on the first play of a drive.
Etowah will travel to Huntsville next week to face J.O. Johnson, while Albertville will host Hazel Green. Both games will be non-region contests.