ALBANY — As the clock crept toward zero, you could sense the relief along the Sherwood sidelines. The Eagles’ first win of the year couldn’t come in a better fashion.
For an inexperienced squad such as this year’s Eagles, non-regional matchups are a great chance to drill home fundamentals to their starters and get their backups precious, live-action game reps. Aside from injury, the worst-case scenario in a non-region matchup like Friday’s would be a loss that carries little to no weight in the postseason.
If this game was meaningless, however, someone didn’t tell Sherwood head coach Otis Covington, whose Eagles coasted for three quarters, taking home a 35-0 shutout win vs. Northside-Dothan (Ala.) Academy.
“You’ve got to be pleased with the way they came out and played (Friday),” Covington said.
“Leadership is always a question. So to get out here, get some experience, and have some success at this point in the season is big for us. To have the young guys out here means a lot for our program’s longevity.”
Sherwood QB Chris Thomas added: “We started playing together as a team. We had faith coming into this game.”
One bright spot in particular, came from a freshman. The game turned into a coming-out party for receiver/defensive back Ahmad Mosely. With the Eagles already holding a 19-0 lead, Mosely caught a pass in the flats from Thomas, shook off about four Knight defenders, and raced down the sidelines on the way to a 64-yard catch-and-run to put the game well out of reach before intermission. Mosely also added three tackles for loss in the first half.
“He plays hard,” Covington said, stressing every syllable: “All. The. Time. He practices hard, he plays hard. He was hurt most of the summer with a hamstring injury. He had a pick-six just last week. We’re excited about him.”
Mosely added: “I just gave it all for my team. I tried to leave it all out on the field.”
The 64-yarder was the perfect example of that. The Northside defenders looked to certainly have tackled him on three separate occasions.
“Coach gave us a speech in the locker room,” Mosely said of the run. “I didn’t want to let him or the team down, so I couldn’t give up on the play.”
Every unit of Sherwood’s team played a complete 60 minutes. Special teams contributed with the early score, the offense played efficiently all night, and the defense forced Northside to punt on every possession in the first half. In fact, the Knights’ gained their first non-penalty-aided first down with just over five minutes left in regulation.
On the first play from scrimmage after the break, Mosely picked up right where he left off. Blitzing from the secondary, he blew past the Northside offensive line untouched, stripping the ball from Northside’s Andrew Quattlebaum. He then recovered the fumble and trotted 11 yards for his second touchdown of the day.
“We’ve still got some things to tighten up on,” Covington said. “There are certain things we’re looking for as we progress to this next stage in our season. We’re gearing up for games with a few AAA schools on our schedule.”
The Eagles head to Americus to take on a bruising Southland Academy rushing attack next weekend. “[This week], we’ve got to execute against the Wing-T,” Mosely said. “We need to work on our coverage and defending gaps too.”
Thomas added: “We’ve got better competition next week. We have more opportunity to work together as a family. Our guys have good character. They practice hard and they play hard, and it showed (Friday).”
Junior tight end/linebacker Greg Elder also added a 12-yard touchdown. Freshman fullback Dequan Robinson gained 70 yards and a touchdown on just three carries. Backup quarterback Dylan Evans Thomas finished with 123 yards passing and two touchdowns.