By Rick Lanier
for the Opelika Observer
A new head coach, new staff members and a new X-and-O scheme normally take time to permeate a football program.
Beauregard’s first game of the year under new management against the 6A Valley Ram’s, however, was very much undecided until late in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the 18-7 defeat is a positive going forward for the Hornets.
It is true that Beauregard lost the game; but it is equally true that some things were found during it. For example: the Hornet’s nest has grown substantially (84 players listed on the roster), seemingly rectifying the depth issue that plagued both sides of the ball last year; the strong-legged junior kicker Zander Baird appears to solve the nagging kicking problems the Hornets experienced for years; the new 3-3 stack defensive look is promising; and finally, some new wrinkles on offense produced some flashes of good. All positives.
Beauregard’s new defense pressured the Ram passing game and running game sufficiently enough to hold the Ram offense to zero points in the first half. The Ram’s 6-0 lead at the half was compliments of a Hornet special team error that resulted in a block punt and a return for a touchdown.
The Hornet’s defensive efforts continued for much of the second half until the 5:09 mark of the third quarter, when Beauregard’s defense bit on a run fake and was caught flat-footed on a throw-back screen for the Ram’s first touchdown of the night – making the score 12-0 in favor of Valley.
The Hornets offense, sparked by some big runs from Cayden Adkins (five rushes for 20 yards), came to life and answered the Ram score when quarterback Trent Moulton (6-for-9, 36 yards) hit a wide open Logan Ballew to tighten the score at 12-7 with 8:42 to play. More positives.
After trading possessions, with a little over two minutes left to play in the game, the Rams scored again when the quarterback scampered 27 yards around the right end for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.
“Go hard. Do right. Expect to win (in that order)” is the new Hornet mantra. The Hornet’s played hard – they always do – but the outcome of the game can simply be boiled down to a couple of untimely mistakes … a drive ending penalty here, a missed blocking assignment there. Those are things that can be fixed – things that you can do right. The Justin Jones era at Beauregard has begun.
Beauregard is at home next week as they take on the Golden Eagles of Booker T. Washington High School (Tuskegee) on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Hornet stadium is located at 7343 Alabama Highway 51, Opelika, Alabama, 36804. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CST.