BY NOAH GRIFFITH
FOR THE OBSERVER
SMITHS STATION —
On Friday night, Glenwood reversed last season’s narrative with a 42-31 win over reigning state champion Lee-Scott Academy, ending the Warriors’ 18-game win streak and three-game series streak.
The win was Glenwood’s first over Lee-Scott since 2020, which includes a state championship loss to its rival last season. While snapping the Warriors’ win streak, the Gators extended their dominance in the swamp with their fifth straight victory over their rivals at home.
Not only was it the first rivalry win for Glenwood head coach Ryan Nelson, it was the first for senior Dallas Crow as starting quarterback. In his third year as starting QB, he and the Gator offense scored on all but three drives to put up the most points of any team against Lee-Scott since Bessemer scored 43 on the Warriors in October of 2020.
“It feels great to get a win either way — starter or not,” Crow said. “It’s a team game. I’m just here to win for this team.”
Coming in with Glenwood as the No. 1 seed in the region and Lee-Scott No. 2, the win helped Glenwood improve to 5-0 and take sole possession of the lead in the AISA 3A region, while Lee-Scott falls to 3-1 and hopes for a chance at a rematch with the Gators in the postseason, as was the case last season.
While Nelson said he was enthused about the win, it wasn’t necessarily because it was over Glenwood’s rival. The Gators have taken care of business early this season against stout competition, and the win gives the team confidence that it can beat the best going into its bye week.
Nelson started his postgame talk by telling his team they were off until the end of the day on Tuesday. That got a barrage of cheers.
“It’s been a long five weeks,” Nelson said. “People don’t understand: that was a state championship football team (in Lee-Scott), Pacelli is a state championship football team, Brookstone was a final four team, so three of our first five opponents — a lot of people in Alabama don’t know what we played over in Columbus. So, we are thrilled to be where we’re at right now.”
The two high-flying offenses put together a lot of big plays and enjoyed a majority of success through the air, while chunk plays were plenty.
Glenwood’s Crow and Lee-Scott QB Pelzer Reeves combined for seven TDs through the air — four by Crow and three from Reeves. Four of those scores went for 60-plus yards, in addition to Lee-Scott running back Parker Wright opening the scoring with a long rushing TD before senior Jake White caught a 75-yard TD on the first play of the second half.
Each team only punted once, but the difference was a pair of Glenwood interceptions by seniors Jackson Griggs and Camden White, who also had two receiving TDs on the other side of the ball. White said that was his first multi-score game, his first game with a TD and an interception and maybe the most he’s ever played on defense in a game.
Lee-Scott kicked a field goal to make it a 21-17 Glenwood lead going to halftime and scored on the first play of the second half to take the lead. Those turnovers, the first followed by a Glenwood score and the second ending with Glenwood running out the clock, helped the Gators pull ahead and seal the win.
“You can’t make mistakes against a really good football team, and that’s what we did,” said Lee-Scott head coach Buster Daniel. “They took advantage of it — that’s what you’re supposed to do. So we’ve got to clean all that up and, you know, keep fighting because you got all season ahead of you.”
With Glenwood going into a bye week and Lee-Scott returning home to face Macon-East Academy this week, both teams have a good idea of what they need to improve on after facing each other. Nelson said Glenwood is going to have to work on minimizing the big plays it allows on defense. For Lee-Scott, its limiting turnovers.
Nonetheless, both coaches were encouraged by the play of their QBs. Reeves aired it out more than he’s had to all year and found junior Brady Cegielski for a pair of TD passes as well as the one to White.
Crow also made some big plays with his arm, but converted several big third and fourth downs with his legs, including a rushing TD on fourth down in the first half and another score on the ground after converting a 4th-and-8 in the second half. He spread the ball to seven different Glenwood receivers, including an 80-yard TD to White and a 75-yard TD to junior Mason McCraine.
Glenwood challenged Lee-Scott more than anybody in 2022, being the only team to come within 20 of the Warriors, but it still resulted in 19 and 14-point wins for Lee-Scott. This time, Glenwood found the recipe to outduel its rival.
The season is still young, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see these teams have a rematch for the state championship again in 2023 — this time, with Lee-Scott looking for revenge.