Ellwood loses 38-6 in road playoff gamePublished 12:16am Saturday, November 10, 2012
By Will Gaines
The Opelika-Auburn News
NOTASULGA — Notasulga’s strong defense and rushing attack helped it beat the Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles 38-6 in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 1A state playoffs on Friday.
Ellwood Christian head football coach Mike Stokes said the Eagles (5-6) just made too many mistakes on the night.
“I think we played probably the worst game we played all year,” Stokes said. “We had four fumbles, a punt blocked and that helped them score 28 points. We just didn’t play well at all.”
The Blue Devils (8-3) set the tone of the game early after they forced a turnover on the opening kickoff.
Six plays later Justin Lucas scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, then converted the 2-point conversion, giving the Blue Devils an early 8-0 lead.
The Blue Devils would go on to score 12 more points in the first half, giving them a 20-0 lead at halftime despite their offense having struggles.
But the second half was a different story. The Blue Devils used a combination of running backs Justin Lucas and Marlon Page to help push the game to the final score of 38-6.
Notasulga head football coach James Lucas was confident that his ground game could put the game out of reach in the second half and has confidence that his team can do it every week.
“I feel like I have some athletes that can carry the ball and some offensive linemen that can come off the ball,” James said. “We want to establish the run game and that will be key in how successful we are moving forward.”
The only points that the Blue Devils gave up came on a 75-yard pass from Ellwood quarterback Jalen Furlow to Devonta Cleveland, who had to make multiple players miss to score the touchdown.
James was not pleased with the Blue Devils giving up the touchdown, but was pleased with the overall defensive performance and understands how important it will be if they want to continue to be successful.
“We always preach defense wins championships,” James said. “The defense played great, their alignment was good and their second and third effort of getting to the football was a lot better than last week.”
The loss brings an end to Ellwood Christian’s first season as a member of the AHSAA, which saw the Eagles make school history by winning their first 11-man football game and claim their first playoff berth in their new football classification.
And while there’s much to be proud of and Stokes said it was a good year for the Eagles where they showed much improvement, Ellwood isn’t done improving and will soon be back at work preparing for next season.
“To come from 0-11 to 5-6 and make the playoffs, it just shows where this program is heading,” Stokes said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re going to take two weeks off, and then we’re going back in the weight room.”
Notasulga will travel next week as they take on Macintosh in the second round of the playoffs.
The Selma Times-Journal contributed to this story.