Escareno’s area aim lifts Anniston over Munford and possibly into the Class 4A playoffs
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports activities Right this moment
Anniston used to not have a kicker in its arsenal, a man it may trot out to kick an additional level or salvage a drive with a area aim. It does now, and Friday night time the Bulldogs have been glad they did.
Kevin Escareno hit what he known as a very powerful kick of his profession when he nailed a 23-yard area within the hammer half of additional time to offer the Bulldogs a 23-20 win over Munford.
“I feel that was like a very powerful kick I’ve ever made,” he mentioned.
Escareno had by no means kicked a game-winner earlier than. It was necessary not solely within the sense it gave the Bulldogs (2-5, 2-2) their second straight win after an 0-5 begin, however it may be the kick that sends them into the playoffs.
The Bulldogs are battling with 4 groups for the fourth spot of their Class 4A Area 4 and the win provides them a leg up on the competitors. Munford (4-4, 1-4), in the meantime, is a type of groups and can now want “loads of craziness” to occur to get in a tiebreaker.The fourth-place workforce within the area is probably going to attract a visit to Cellular Christian for its opening-round recreation.
“I didn’t know we received to the playoffs,” Escareno mentioned of what he thought the kick meant. “I simply need to thank my workforce as a result of they have been in a position to block sufficient for me to get the kick off.”
When the kick went by means of it touched off a wild celebration. Escareno was in the midst of it and all he needed was for the gamers to cease hitting him.
After they did he mentioned they mentioned how a lot they liked him.
“I simply received butterflies in my abdomen,” he mentioned.
The Bulldogs tied the sport on Kamron Sandlin’s 5-yard run with 13.9 left in regulation, making the choice on his personal – with no time outs – to tug it down and run.
It was a particular recreation for the Bulldogs quarterback who appears like a younger Jamies Winston, and he performed prefer it meant a bit extra. He used to play for the Lions, however transferred to Anniston to be nearer to his father. He rushed for 126 yards on 18 carries and accomplished seven of 13 passes for 100 yards. He ran for 90 yards within the fourth quarter, together with a 16-yard run on the primary play of the game-tying drive and an 18-yard run later in it.
“Loads of them doubted me, however I needed to do what I needed to do,” Sandlin mentioned. “I needed to placed on my huge boy footwear. Whenever you’re at quarterback you’ve simply received to make good choices. Generally the go don’t work and … you’ve simply received to do what you bought to do.”
Escareno’s additional level would have received it there and he made the kick, however it as prefer it by no means occurred because the Bulldogs have been flagged earlier than the snap. His second try was blocked after a excessive snap.
On the successful area aim, the Bulldogs initially ran him on the market for a 29-yard try, however they have been hit with one other penalty that added for 5 yards to the strive. They introduced the offense again out and Sandlin floated a go for Antonio Kite in the long run zone, however Munford’s Rashard Russell was all around the basketball star and known as for go interference. That’s after they despatched Escareno again out once more and this time his kick, into the wind, would have been good from a number of yards again.
‘I used to be a bit nervous, however I needed to do away with that on the sector,’ he mentioned. “I simply mentioned we’d like a great snap and a great maintain; that’s all we’d like.”
“I might have gone with Kevin all 12 months,” Anniston coach Rico White mentioned. “He’s performed missed a number of, however I imagine in him.”
The Bulldogs denied Munford on two purple zone conditions within the second quarter and stopped the Lions once more from in there on the opening possession of additional time. Every of the stands was highlighted by a protracted adverse play.
The Lions scored from the 1 early within the second quarter, however they ran 12 red-zone performs later within the quarter and gained a internet six yards. The primary stand attain the three, however was thwarted by Tyrese Weathers’ 13-yard sack of quarterback Jay Tuck and an overthrown go on fourth down. The second reached the 4 and was thwarted by Cameron Callaway’s 8-yard sack and one other overthrown fourth-down go with the clock working out.
“They saved us,” White mentioned. “They’re my MVP. That protection performed lights out the primary half as a result of we didn’t get something going within the second quarter in any respect, however they did an excellent job.”
“That was an actual killer – twice; if we punched these two in it’s a very totally different recreation,” Munford coach Michael Easley mentioned. “Busted performs, I do know it’s soccer, it occurs, however it may well’t occur in these conditions on this recreation. We’ve received to make a play.”
Munford received the ball first in additional time, however went extra backwards than ahead. Sylvester Smith slipped on the primary play and misplaced 4, however gained six on the following. Tuck went again to go on third down, however misplaced the deal with and 6 yards. On fourth down Tuck scrambled for the top zone, however was introduced down by Jacques Thomas and Tahi Swink on the 6 to kill the possession and provides the Bulldogs an opportunity.
“I hate it for the youngsters,” Easley mentioned. “Our youngsters fought for 4 quarters, however on the identical time if we get the ball first it’s our job to attain. You’ve received to offer their child credit score for hitting that area aim, however it’s our job to attain after we get the ball. We’ve received to make performs.”
Anniston 23, Munford 20 (OT)
Munford 0 6 14 0 0 – 20
Anniston 7 0 7 6 3 – 23
A – Brandon Roberts 2 run (Kevin Escareno kick), 1:53 1Q
M – Corbin Smith 1 run (run failed), 11:56 2Q
M – Sylvester Smith 8 run (run failed), 8:08 3Q
A – Taishun Corridor 46 go from Kamron Sandlin (Kevin Escareno kick), 6:13 3Q
M – Peyton Gaither 9 go from Jay Tuck (Sylvester Smith run), 0:46 3Q
A – Kamron Sandlin 5 run (kick failed), 0:13 4Q
A – Kevin Escareno 23 FG, OT
|Mun (4-4, 1-4)||Ann (2-5, 2-2)|