Although the cool temperatures hurt the attendance in Decatur last Friday night for the Gadsden City vs. Decatur game, those who came out saw an exciting high school football. game. The Titans move to Round 2 facing Hewitt-Trussville. Check out scenes from last week, and coach Joe Billingsley's comments.
Scout.com-Alabama's Dewayne Hill was on the sidelines last week in the chilly tempatures in Decatur.
"Decatur got the ball first, and they looked as if they were going to make it a long night for the Titans of Gadsden City," Hill said. "With junior quarterback Ben Neil leading the way on a couple of big runs, Decatur scored quick to lead 7-0 with only a few minutes gone in the first quarter. Gadsden responded well and fought back from that deficit, went ahead and never trailed again."
"Although, Gadsden City jumped out to a two touchdown lead in the game, Decatur never gave up. With the game well in hand at 35-21, Gadsden City was driving the ball deep into Decatur territory when the ball was stripped from Antavio Smith. Decatur returned it deep into Gadsden's end of the field. A few plays later Decatur scored to make it 35-28."
"Decatur did get another opportunity, but Gadsden City with their senior leadership held on for the victory."
"Both of the five-star prospects, Dre Kirkpatrick and Kendall Kelly, for Gadsden City had a very good night. As did GCHS running back Christopher Thornton and sophomore running back Daryl Collins."
"Ben Neil, Brooks Johnson and John Alexander, for Decatur, made good contributions for their team in an excellent effort to win this 1st round play-off game."
Round 2 matches up Gadsden City against the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies. The teams met October 17 with the Titans pulling out the win, 24-17.
Gadsden City head coach Joe Billingsley has his game face on for the contest and a man of few words.
He credits last week's win with "overcoming adversity to win and five touchdown passes" as keys to the victory. He also knows the lowlights from the game as "penalities."
Several Titans stepped up last week as Billingsley credited, "Brad Clay, Kendall Kelly, Chris Thornton, Fred Carter and D.J. Huff," as big contributers.
Anyone who follows high school football in the state of Alabama or recruiting on a national level, is aware of two five-star athletes playing their senior season for the Titans. Both Kirkpatrick and Kelly have played through injuries this season.
When coach Billingsley was asked their status going into the game, "No comment," he said.
Dale Trimble, defensive back, is just one underclassman for the Titans who projects to rank on a national level as well. One high school head coach who faced the Titans this season credited Trimble as an equal or better college prospect than Kirkpatrick.
Coach Billingsley is glad to have several underclassmen who "have gained experience and playing like veterans."
Hewitt-Trussville head coach Hal Riddle will have his team ready to play as always with Billingsley praising, "their effort and their coaching staff" as strengths coming into the game.
The Titans have struggled at times on the offensive side of the ball this season, but Billingsley said, "We rushed for over 300 yards" in the last meeting against the Huskies.
Gadsden City's defense is a big strength and "evenly matched" against the Huskies' offense.
Coach Billingsley does not like any limelight in his direction and always has time to credit others for their success.
"We are honored and blessed to be in the second round," he said. "Thanks to our players and assistant coaches."
The Titans travel to Trussville Friday night, 7PM kick-off.
1 of 10 photos
[Dre Kirkpatrick, Kirkpatrick, Kendall Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Dale Trimble, Antavio Smith, Kelvin James, Ben Neil, Brooks Johnson]
Class 6A schedules and scores [click here].
Reach Andrew Bone at firstname.lastname@example.org