Maplesville showed why the Red Devils have won three state Class 1A state championships with a 50-18 victory over the Notasulga Blue Devils Friday, Sept. 8 at Sanderson Knapp Stadium in Notasulga.
It was a frustrating game for Notasulga that saw the Blue Devils produce some good offensive numbers, but having to deal with two apparent touchdowns being taken off the board – one on a fumble into the end zone that was ruled a touchback and a fumble recovery return for six points that was ruled an incomplete pass.
“The end zone play that was ruled a fumble could have made the score 7-7 and pass ruled incomplete could have given us a tie game at the end of the first quarter if both scores had counted,” pointed out Notasulga Coach Anthony “Tank” Jones.
Instead, the visitors led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 29-0 at the half before Notasulga got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when the Blue Devils trailed 36-6 before adding two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils’ first touchdown came on a 14-yard pass from quarterback TraDarius Ezell to wide receiver Keywun Rowles with 3:33 to play in the third quarter. The extra point attempt failed.
Ezell found Rowles for two more touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. They covered 42 and 56 yards. Extra point attempts failed after each score.
The Notasulga quarterback completed 12 of 27 passes with one interception and the three touchdowns to Rowles. Ezell had 166 yards through the air with Rowles pulling in four passes for 120 yards and the three touchdowns.
Walter Tatum caught two passes for 22 yards and Mark Battle three for 19 yards.
The Blue Devils weren’t able to do much on the ground against Maplesville’s huge defensive line. Daryl Brown rushed for 30 yards on seven carries. Ezell finished with 34 yards on five rushes and Tatum 18 yards on five carries.
Jaheim Grier led NHS tacklers for the third straight game. The sophomore tackle made 11 stops. Keldrick Adams added nine tackles. The pass that was ruled incomplete was broken up by Adams and Jimmy Pitts picked up the loose ball and raced to the end zone.
“We’ve got to put this game behind us and get ready for R.C. Hatch at homecoming this week,” said Jones about the Friday, Sept. 15 homecoming contest against Hatch that defeated Verbena 56-14 last Friday. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
“We came out of our first three games in good shape injury-wise with mainly some bumps and bruises,” Jones pointed out.
“We have the ability to win the rest of our games. We lost two weeks ago to Lanett that is ranked number two in Class 2A and last week to Maplesville, the number one team in Class 1A.”