EASTPOINT - If discretion is the better part of valor, then Franklin County Coach Tony Yeomans is indeed a brave man, despite his team falling 38-20 Friday night.
After his squad trailed Sneads 19-7 entering the second half, three things happened in quick succession in the first three minutes. The Pirates scored back to back touchdowns, and the Seahawks sustained their second game-ending ankle injury to a starter, this time with junior lineman Cam Wynn joining sophomore linebacker Charlee Winchester on the sidelines and then on to the hospital for x-rays.
A referee asked Yeomans if he wanted a running clock, and he agreed.
“I wasn’t doing it to quit on the team, I was doing it to survive,” said the coach. “I couldn’t afford to lose another starter.”
The Pirates’ two touchdowns to open the third quarter, a fumble ran back for 65 yards by senior defensive back Courtavious Garrett, and then a three-yard rushing touchdown a minute later by sophomore Calvin Stringer that came after senior defensive guard Ryan McLeod pounced on an errant pitch, looked to put the game out of reach.
With the running clock moving, and a 31-7 lead, Sneads coach Bill Thomas had substituted in his younger players.
But two touchdowns by the Seahawks made it 31-20 with four minutes left to play.
First, a 30-yard burst by senior running back Colton Evans brought the Seahawks into the red zone, and then freshman quarterback Colin Amison scrambled in the end zone from 11 yards out, near the end of the third quarter.
Then with time running out in the fourth, senior defensive end Tonnor Segree scooped up a fumble and ran it 60 yards downfield into the end zone.
“I had subbed some guys in, and they scored real quick and then they stopped running the clock for a little bit,” said Thomas. “I about lost my religion with the refs. I told them ‘You said you were going to run the clock, now run it.’”
Sophomore running back Alonzo Hill capped off the game’s scoring with a 55-yard-touchdown run with a minute, and Trent Smith nailed the extra point.
Thomas, an Apalachicola native who once coached the Sharks, said he understood Yeomans’ decision to let the clock run. The Seahawks have lost 11 players to injuries, nearly all starters, dating back to the pre-season.
“This summer we thought about this game as being probably the biggest game of the year for us,” said Thomas. “His goal tonight was to survive the season.
“We would have had to still come out and hump the ball right at them until the clocks running, with our seniors, until the game’s at hand. If I’m doing that with the type of offense we run, you’re going to get banged up,” Thomas said. “He can’t afford to lose nobody else.”
The Pirates opened the game by scoring on their first drive, when Stringer capped it off with an eight-yard rushing score.
The Seahawks tied it up, when senior running back Rufus Townsend swept in from 40 yards out.
Sneads junior running back Seth Scott scored later in the first quarter, and then Stringer scored his second touchdown of the night, from 11 yards out.
“We played good, we just had too many turnovers,” said Yeomans.