Sportspage spring game of the week.
At West Point Stadium:
Holly Pond 0 7 7 7 - 21
West Point 7 7 0 7 - 21
WP: Hunter Persall 2 run (Stephen Rodriguez kick) 1:43 in 1st
HP: Brody Rowell 1 run (Jesse Day kick) 2:41 in 2nd
WP: Persall 19 run (Rodriguez kick) 1:39 in 2nd
HP: Levi Boatright 3 run (Day kick) 0:44 in 3rd
HP: Rowell 20 pass to Tyler Boatright (Day kick) 9:29 in 4th
WP: Will Cochran 63 pass to Jacob Dye (Rodriguez kick) 1:44 in 4th.
FLASH NOTES: A majority of spring games don't end up with dramatics, but the battle between the two best teams in the county school system in 2017, displayed that Friday evening with the game ending in a deadlock.
With reserves on the field for most of the fourth quarter, West Point forced Holly Pond to give the ball up on downs, taking over at its 20 with 4:14 remaining, down by a 21-14 margin.
On third down from the 37, Cochran went to the air and threw it deep as Dye got behind the secondary and would scamper on into the end zone for the touchdown that lifted West Point. Rodriguez tacked on the conversion.
Holly Pond had the ball one final time, but could not get it inside the West Point 40 as time ran out and the two teams completed two weeks of spring workouts and a jamboree that showed good things on both sides, but plenty of work to get done before they open the 2018 season in late August.
West Point's first touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery, driving 45 yards to get on the scoreboard.
But the drive was costly when QB Rylan Jones sustained an injury to his knee cap with 2:12 left in the first quarter. Jones was trying to get the ball into the end zone when he was tackled at the Holly Pond two-yard line and went down in pain.
Holly Pond also had its starting signal-caller, Kyler Chaney, suffer an injury in the second stanza. Chaney threw a 25-yard completion and then left with 8:04 remaining in the half as his knee was scraped from contact and bleeding.
Brody Rowell replaced Chaney and the Broncos finished the drive, getting into the end zone on Rowell taking it in from the one and the kick tied the score at 7-7.
Then it was time for West Point's Hunter Persall to display his running skills. Persall, the top rusher in the county last year with over 2,000 yards, got the ball three times in the second quarter and netted 50 yards. He scored on a 19-yard dash with 1:39 left in the period and the Warriors held a 14-7 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Broncos stopped the Warriors short of a first down at the Holly Pond 15 and took possession. With Jeremiah Holmes getting loose for a 42-yard run and effective running by Chaney, the Broncos tied the score on a short run from Levi Boatright and Day's conversion.
As the fourth began, the Warriors moved the ball downfield behind balanced running. Then Whit Laney went to the air, going deep in the middle of the field. Chaney intercepted around the three-yard line and began a return that would take him to the West Point five.
But the Broncos were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the play, setting up possession at the West Point 20.
One play was needed as Rowell threw to Tyler Boatright on a fade pattern who made a great catch in the right side of the end zone, sending the Broncos ahead for the first time at 21-14.
West Point needed to get the ball back to have a chance and did when they forced the Broncos to punt and would go 80 yards in less than 3:00 to get the game tied, displaying dramatics from the younger personnel that got the Warriors back into being inspired.
West Point accounted for 372 yards of total offense, 210 by the running game. Persall gained 109 yards and scored twice, with his longest run of the night coming at 23 yards, his final run in the third quarter.
The Warriors gained 101 yards in the air as Laney had four completions for 86 yards, Cochran one for 63 and Jones two for 15.
West Point had 15 first downs, were penalized eight times for 70 yards and averaged 33 yards per punt.
Holly Pond netted 196 yards rushing, 74 yards passing, 14 first downs, penalized nine times for 75 yards and punted four times for a 35.5 average.
Holmes gained 112 yards rushing in setting the tone for the Broncos with Chaney throwing for 47 yards and Rowell completing two for 27 yards and a TD.
Up next for West Point: Vs. Fairview in 2018 opener August 23 (WKUL-FM)
Up next for Holly Pond: Vs. New Hope in 2018 opener August 24.
Photo 1: West Point QB Rylan Jones looking to pass while Holly Pond's Jesse Day tries to fight off a blocker.
Photo 2: West Point's Rylan Jones assisted to the sidelines by Hunter Persall (24) and trainer Donna Chamblee after suffering knee injury in the first quarter.
Photo 3: Battle in the trenches between Holly Pond and West Point Friday evening.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
AHSAA 5A, Area 12 softball loser's final
At Hayden High School:
Curry 0 0 0 1 1 - 2 (13-13)
West Point 3 2 5 0 2 - 12 (9-14-2)
WP: Carlie Wilkins
TIME OF GAME: 1:26
FLASH NOTES: Wins for West Point softball in 2018 have not been as many as from the past three seasons.
But what matters is winning in key situations, such as they did Thursday afternoon to punch a berth to the North Central Regional for the second consecutive year.
West Point cashed in ineffective pitching by Curry, with three hurlers combining for 10 walks. The Lady Warriors accounted for more base on balls than they had in hits, a total of seven.
Half of the 10 walks came in, with the second through fifth run a courtesy of reaching on a base on ball.
Timely hits were displayed as Makayla Brown had a first inning sacrifice fly to score Gracie Abbott, while Hope Shedd singled in Olivia Ball and Molly Pendley who walked and a 3-0 first inning lead.
Walks to Abbott and Ball in the second, dashed home on a long two-run single by Brown, giving West Point a 5-0 cushion.
The third inning began with singles by Wilkins, Ava Jo Rushing and Avery McClure. Abbott collected a sacrifice fly, scoring Wilkins, Ball was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out.
Pendley singled in Rushing while McClure was safe on a sacrifice fly by Shedd. Braelee Quinn was safe on an error to score Pendley and give the Lady Warriors a 10-0 margin to work with.
Wilkins had allowed Curry one hit through the third when the Yellow Jackets scored on a single, two stolen bases and a wild pitch to close to 10-1.
A pair of singles produced a run for the Yellow Jackets in the fifth, but a runner trying to advance to third was thrown out on a play from McClure in center to Quinn at second and on to Pendley covering third base.
Brown led off the Lady Warriors' fifth with a single, Shedd was issued a walk and a walk to Quinn filled the bases with no outs.
Wilkins grounded to the pitcher who threw to home to force out Brown. The catcher tried to complete a double play, but threw it past the first baseman and into right field.
Shedd and Quinn were on their way to end the game at 5:20 p.m.
Curry committed two errors that allowed West Point to score three times in being unable to keep it close after they did Tuesday in a 7-5 loss to the Lady Warriors that sent Curry to the loser's bracket.
West Point was playing Hayden for the area championship at press time. The Lady Warriors will take part in the 5A North Central Regional next weekend at Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa. Game times and opponents will be announced later.
Photo 1: Gracie Abbott scores the 1st run for West Point vs. Curry Thursday afternoon
Photo 2: Hope Shedd singles in two in the 1st inning in West Point's 12-2 win over Curry.
Photo 3: West Point principal Heith Yearwood watching the 5A, Area 12 tournament with his daughter, Bailee, Thursday at Hayden High School.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.