By Scott Nickerson, Sports Writer
The Stanhope Elmore High School Mustangs completed the 2019 regular season with a complete victory, dominating the Greenville Tigers in all three phases for a convincing 28-0 win. While the Mustangs offense had two passing touchdowns, and the special teams had a blocked punt for a safety and two field goals, it was the Mustangs’ defense that was most dominant, earning their second shutout of the season. Through 10 games played, the defense has given up less than 10
With one minute to go in the first half, the Greenville Tigers had -22 yards of offense through five possessions. They were able to get 34 yards on three plays just before the break to at least get on the positive side for total yardage. The Tigers didn’t fare much better in the 2nd half, earning only 17 yards, for a grand total of 29 yards…in the entire game. It was the most impressive defensive performance in Coach Brian Bradford’s three-year tenure as head coach at Stanhope Elmore.
Greenville had the ball to start the game and was pushed back 12 yards on their first drive. The ensuing punt was blocked by AZ Williams and went out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety for the Mustangs, putting the score at 2-0 just two minutes into the game.
On Stanhope Elmore High’s first offensive possession, they faced a 4th and long near the Greenville 40-yard line, and lined up for a punt, when Whitlow took a fake snap and rushed the ball for a first down. The drive ultimately stalled, with senior kicker Dylan Presciti nailing a 21-yard field goal to put the Mustangs up 5-0.
Whitlow continued his strong play, sacking the Greenville quarterback for a 19-yard loss on the next drive, getting the ball back to the offense. The Mustangs again got the ball in scoring position, but again were unable to put the ball in the end zone, and the drive ended with another Presciti field goal, this time from 33-yards out.
Greenville’s ineptitude on offense continued on the next drive, losing 28-yards on a bad snap of a punt, giving the Mustangs the ball 20-yards away from the goal line. Stanhope Elmore High finally capitalized, throwing a screen pass to receiver Conner Bradford who ran it in for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, so the Mustangs lead stayed at 14-0, which was the halftime score.
The Mustangs received the ball to start the 2nd half. After earning just 24-yards in the first two quarters, senior running back Tre Duncan carried the ball five times for 33 yards on the drive, which ended with Bradford catching a deflection from a pass intended for Tyler Wilson, who then ran it in for his second receiving touchdown of the night.
Wilson took advantage of the next ball thrown to him, making a 25-yard reception that set up a 15-yard rushing touchdown from freshman running back Antonio Trone, to complete the scoring for the Mustangs.
Rines two passing touchdowns increased his season total to eight passing touchdowns to go along with seven rushing touchdowns. The Mustangs record improved to 8-2. Their focus will now turn to the Class 6A Playoffs, where they will host the Paul Bryant Stampede out of Tuscaloosa.
The Mustangs have not hosted a playoff game in nine seasons. That will come to an end on Friday night in Millbrook. The Mustangs have not won a playoff game in nine seasons as well. Come out to Foshee-Henderson stadium to see if that streak also ends.
For a video of Senior Football players being honored at Senior Night, see https://www.facebook.com/sarah.dawn.56884/videos/143531606983436/UzpfSTE1NDYzNjU0MDE6MTAyMjA2NjMwMzE1OTYxNDc/?__tn__=%2CdlC-R-R&eid=ARAPQSN9iBTMZYPnv3VJSDbBIizSP3DtVScKF9M-9HgC8XHpAbB6vMlSlbP2P6GRTH2-4fgVqldstSrk&hc_ref=ARTI240l6pDqoPlQ7TEP9qmMuFirPayvNjKAJ3kzuJMgVm8zUqgKl6Osn1RFtLUJ1Oc