By Morgan Bryce
Relying on the play of its stalwart defense and star running back La’damian Webb, the Class 5A, Region-4 champion Beauregard Hornets upstaged the 6A Benjamin Russell Wildcats 27-7 in Alexander City Friday night.
Benjamin Russell opened with the game’s first score on their opening drive, a six-yard touchdown run by senior receiver Chris Lawson.
The Hornet offense sputtered for most of the first quarter, missing a short field-goal attempt and being forced into multiple three-and-outs by the Wildcat defense.
With less than five minutes to go until halftime, senior quarterback Jaichis Holmes ended the Hornet’s scoring drought with a three-yard keeper for a score.
Tied 7-7 at halftime, both team’s defenses had turned in a strong showing. Webb was limited to 107 yards on 20 carries, and Benjamin Russell’s Landon Cotney was held to 2-of-3 passing for 13 yards.
Another quick three-and-out by the Beauregard defense to start the second half set up the Hornet offense with prime field position. Two plays later, Webb used his blazing speed to give Beauregard a 13-7 lead and the momentum they would need to salt away the Wildcats.
The Wildcats enjoyed success on the next drive, but bogged down in Beauregard territory and turned the ball over on downs. On the ensuing drive, Holmes used his 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pound frame to bulldoze Benjamin Russell defenders, rushing for 49 yards and another touchdown to give his Hornet squad a 20-7 lead.
Beauregard maintained its two-touchdown advantage for most of the second half, until Holmes added a seven-yard touchdown pass to Quatavious Seroyer with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Senior kicker Ricardo Mendoza added the game’s final point to extend the lead to 27-7, finishing 3-of-4 on extra-point attempts.
Webb once again carried the Hornet offense, maintaining a healthy 8.5 yards-per-carry average en route to 246 yards rushing and a touchdown. Overall, Beauregard finished with 353 yards rushing and 452 yards of total offense.
The Beauregard defense was opportunistic, forcing three turnovers and limiting the Wildcats to 220 yards of total offense.
“(They’re) just a resilient bunch. It was a hard-fought battle in the first half … we went in there and challenged them, and we said, ‘hey, this is the kind of game that you gotta fight through just like the playoffs coming up,’” said Beauregard head football coach Rob Carter. “We came out and made those adjustments, the coaching staff did a great job. And hats off to the defense. The defense is what kept us in it early and enabled us to get a lead.”
Next week, the 9-1 Hornets will take on the 6-4 Greenville Tigers in the first round of the playoffs. Greenville handed Beauregard its only loss 34-31 in the season opener for both teams.
Carter emphasized that his team will be more than prepared to defend its home turf next Friday night at Hornet Stadium.
“Now, we’re going to get ready for Greenville next week. They’re coming back to our place, where we got the one blemish on our season,” Carter said. “I promise you, every stone will be unturned and looked at and we’re going to do the best we can.”
Kickoff against Greenville is set for 7 p.m. Beauregard is located at 7343 Alabama Highway 51.