McGill Toolen continues to roll

Preston Messer

After getting off to an 0-2 start to the Mike Dean Era, McGill-Toolen quickly righted the ship and is now in a good position to finish No. 2 in 6A Region 2. In retrospect the two opening losses are looking better and better with each week.

Undefeated Fairhope High School is now ranked No. 5 in 6A. No. 7 ranked in 4A, the UMS-Wright Bulldogs' losses have come to Fairhope and Thomasville High School, the No. 1 ranked team in 4A.

McGill-Toolen bounced back to win its next two region contests vs. Robertsdale High School and Daphne High School (which was covered by ScoutSouth.com). And since then, they've reeled off three straight wins versus No. 7 Davidson High School (who was ranked No. 3 at the time), Satsuma and the Sidney Lanier Poets in Montgomery at the Crampton Bowl.

One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround has been overall consistent play that has come with the experience being gained by a relatively young and inexperienced team.

Well, overall consistent play and a defense that is creating turnovers and scoring opportunities. Since holding Roberstdale to three points and shutting out Daphne in the second half to hold on to a victory, the defense has managed to force 13 turnovers and score four touchdowns in the last three games.

Against Davidson, the defense set the tone for the upset when junior CB E.J. May intercepted a pass from Jerrell Smith and returned it 46 yards for the first score of the game.

The defense then put away a 7-7 game early in the second half when senior Lee Howard scooped up a fumble and ran it in from 55 yards out. The Yellow Jackets went on to win 24-14 in a game where Davidson only completed two passes, both just happened to be for long touchdowns.

In a 35-7 win over region 2 opponent Satsuma, the Jackets produce four turnovers and another score when Junior DE Charles Benning recovered a fumble and darted 45 yards for a TD. And last week in Montgomery, senior DE Jordan Haynes grabbed a loose ball near the Lanier 25 and rumbled in for a 3rd quarter TD, accounting for one of McGill's four turnovers in a 24-8 victory.

On offense, the line as is playing more physical and limiting the breakdowns as a unit. With the offensive line leading the way Preston Messer continues to throw touchdowns and the running game, led by Lance Watson and Derric Burrell, continues to churn out yardage and move the sticks.

A McGill-Toolen win Friday night at Foley High School ensures at least a 3rd place finish in the region. A McT win coupled with a win from Fairhope over Daphne (@ Fairhope Municipal Stadium) will ensure 2nd place for the Yellow Jackets.

It is not an easy task.

Foley features a dangerous offense and is always tough at home. If the past couple of weeks are any indication, the McGill-Toolen Catholic defense should be up to the task.

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