Derrick Burns carries Tuscaloosa County to 13-6 victory over Mountain Brook
Fri. August 30, 2013 at 11:00 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Tuscaloosa County's Allen Cooks (1) attempts to break the tackle of Mountainbrook High School's Wirth Doss (24) during the third quarter of of high school football action Friday August 30, 2013. (Photo by JASON HARLESS | THE TUSCALOOSA NEWS )
NORTHPORT | Derrick Burns wants the football in his hands, even if he has to pick it up off the ground.
Burns ran for a touchdown Friday night after snagging an errant snap from center, and the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats started the season with a 13-6 victory over Mountain Brook.
"The first time we put the ball on the ground, my coach told me I did the right thing (by falling on it)," said Burns, who scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter. "He told me next time, if I see an opening, just take it. That's what I did. I took it and got a touchdown for us. My guys blocked how they were supposed to block."
Burns finished with 116 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Seth Franks, Tuscaloosa County's new starting quarterback, threw a touchdown pass to Allen Cooks, and the defense did the rest. The Wildcats came up with three fumble recoveries.
Linebacker DeWunya Topps caused the last turnover when he blindsided quarterback Jacob Carroll and knocked the ball loose.
"I just saw the quarterback waiting there for me," said Topps, who was credited with two forced fumbles. "I just hit him hard, and you see good things happen."
Dailyn Patton recovered the fumble and made a 12-yard return to the Mountain Brook 29. The Wildcats ended up punting, forcing Mountain Brook to start its last drive from its 20 with 2:03 left. The Spartans got a couple of receivers open behind the defense, but they weren't able to come up with the football. After Mountain Brook reached the TCHS 26, three passes fell incomplete and the Wildcats ran out the final 30 seconds.
"Our defense stepped up strong for us, and we got the punt block," TCHS coach Lee Gibson said. "It helped us get that lead. A lot of credit goes to the offensive line. I'm proud of them for establishing the run game because that's all we did the second half.
"We threw that interception early and gave them their points, and we can't do that. We just decided we were going to stick with the run and see what happened, and it worked out for us."
TCHS scored its second touchdown after Parker Montgomery blocked a punt.
Sandlin Bronson recovered the ball at the 18. Two plays later, Franks hit Cooks on a slant-in pattern, and Cooks found the end zone with 1:38 left in the third quarter. The extra point was missed, leaving the score 13-6.
"Allen probably has the best hands on the team, so I trust him to catch it," Franks said.
Mountain Brook capitalized on an interception by Buddy Pell, who made a 24-yard return to the TCHS 2. Gene Bromberg scored on a 1-yard run that opened the scoring, but the extra point was missed.
On the ensuing drive, Burns had gains of 13, 15 and 37 yards, giving the Wildcats a first down at the 9. Three plays later, Burns found the football as the snap eluded Franks and found an opening on the right side to score. Isaac Albaradei kicked the extra point for a 7-6 lead.
TCHS was ranked No. 7 in the Class 6A preseason poll, and the Spartans were No. 6.
TCHS plays at home Friday in a Region 5 game.
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.