Olvey Field was covered with a light mist as the Bradwell Tigers hosted the Wayne County Yellow Jackets Friday night. The constant drizzle didn’t put a damper on the handful of Tiger fans looking to catch a glimpse of the Bradwell squad under new head coach Adam Carter.
The rain did wreak havoc on the Tigers’ kicking team, leading to bad snaps and punts. In turn that gave the visitors a short field to work with and Wayne County capitalized, winning the scrimmage 26-6.
The Tigers’ one touchdown came from freshman running back Terrius Crimiel late in the fourth quarter with four minutes left. Crimiel took the handoff from backup quarterback Duane Johnson and sprinted 60 yards.
The Tigers went for two, didn’t convert but at least avoided the shutout. Crimiel finished the night with 5 carries for 76 yards and that 60-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers started by receiving the opening kickoff and started at their own 20 with a touchback. They converted for a first down before they were hit with a penalty and pushed back. Eventually Robert Miller had to punt on fourth and 17.
The snap was off, but Miller managed a soccer kick, moving the ball at least 15 yards down field. Wayne County started their first offensive drive on the Tigers’ 41. They used one play, connecting a 39-yard pass and quick scamper into the end zone.
On their second possession, the Tigers were forced to punt again. Miller’s kick was blocked, giving the Wayne County boys the ball at the Tigers’ 37.
“Our special team has to get better,” Carter said after the game. “We had a bad day… We did have a couple of good kicks… But the rain kind of messed with us… They hadn’t practice in the rain and we have to get out there and practice, snappers, holders, everybody.”
The Tiger defense held the Yellow Jackets, at least for the remainder of the first half.
Offensively, sophomore Luther Echols continued where he left off last year, proving he will be the Tigers’ work horse. The running back carried the ball the majority of plays, chipping away yardage. Echols had 18 carries for 44 yards.
LeBaron Anthony had 11 carries for 27 yards, but the quarterback was 1 of 7 pass attempts for the night.
“You know we gave up one big play in the first half,” Carter said. “The defense played great the whole first half. The offense had 43 plays in the first half and did good things, but we have to execute.”
The defense did stop the Yellow Jackets when Anthony couldn’t connect with Diggs on fourth down, giving the Yellow Jackets the ball at the Tigers’ 19.
Defensively, Isiah Barnes, Andrew Facey, Stephon Green and DeAngelo Smith were responsible for most of the Tigers’ tackles. Barnes led with 5 solo and 3 assists, Smith had 6 assists and Green had 5 assists.
But turnovers and penalties made the Tigers pay the price in the second half. The Yellow Jackets scored two touchdowns, a safety and kicked a field goal to score 19 points.
“In the second half we got sloppy and we put our defense in some bad situations and they (Wayne County) responded, but we had coachable moments,” Carter said.
The first year coach said the boys played with heart and put forth an effort, which is what he wanted.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he told the players after the game. “Our effort is there, but we had a lot of mental mistakes and we’ve got a lot of things we can fix. As a coach we look for things we can fix on film… If we are having to fix effort then that’s a problem, but you’re effort is there… It’s about execution, you have to learn how to win football games. That is a good football team and they are not going to just lay over and let you win a game… Wins don’t come easy, you have to earn them.”
After the game, the coach invited the fans and players’ family to join the team on the field for the after-game pep talk and prayer. The coach said the parents of his players have invested a lot of time and support and deserve to be on the field.
“We want to invite them down to the field,” he said. “They support us and they are part of our family and part of our team and they will always be part of us win, lose or draw.”
Carter told the players they will get back to the drawing board Saturday morning. The Tigers have until Aug. 30 to get ready for the first regular season game when they play Liberty County at Donell Woods Stadium.