Ramirez, defense do it again for Tuscaloosa County
Fri. September 21, 2012 at 11:04 p.m. | By A.A. Moore
BESSEMER | Tuscaloosa County has had trouble getting into the end zone the last two weeks. But when your defense is throwing shutouts like Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander, the need for points is greatly diminished.
For the second straight week, senior kicker Emiliano Ramirez provided the only points the Wildcats needed. His 31-yard field goal in the third quarter backed a defense that allowed Bessemer City just 79 total yards and never let the Purple Tigers past the Tuscaloosa County 26 in a 3-0 victory Friday night.
“Our goal is to shut people out every week and keep improving,” said Wildcats senior linebacker/running back Ted Colburn, who had 10 tackles. “We can’t stay satisfied with how we played this week.”
The Wildcats (3-1, 3-0 Class 6A, Region 5) had a slightly better time moving the football, racking up 212 total yards. But after watching too many drives stall on offense, Tuscaloosa County leaned on its defense to grab an important road victory.
“We were going to keep playing field position. Run it, punt it and take our chances with our defense,” coach Lee Gibson said.
Bessemer City (2-2, 1-2) did not make life easy on the Wildcats offense. The Purple Tigers did not allow a first down until the second quarter, on a 15-yard run by Cornelius Pruitt (15 carries, 66 yards) — the Wildcats’ longest play from scrimmage. That run was part of a methodical march downfield for Tuscaloosa County, a 14-play, 71-yard drive that ate up more than seven minutes.
But a fumble ended that drive at the Bessemer City 7-yard line, one of two red zone turnovers by the Wildcats.
“We were moving the ball down the field,” said Tuscaloosa County quarterback Tyler Gates, who was 11 of 18 passing for 62 yards. “We’d get in a groove and bad things would happen. You can’t do that and expect to win football games.”
The game was scoreless at halftime, but on Tuscaloosa County’s second drive of the third quarter, the Wildcats got in position for Ramirez to boot his field goal.
“I felt a lot of pressure,” Ramirez said. “The offense was struggling, but I just wanted to do my best and try to make the kick.”
The Wildcats’ defense finished the game in style, with Brian Brown ending one drive with the Wildcats’ third sack of the night to force a turnover on downs and linebacker Jimmy Maddox baiting Bessemer City quarterback Pat Johnson into an interception that sealed the victory.