TA strikes early, often in rout of Bessemer Academy
Fri. October 05, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Tuscaloosa Academy’s Clay Thomas (5) runs the ball past Bessemer Academy’s Tyler Carroll (20) during Thursday night’s game at Tuscaloosa Academy. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter)
TUSCALOOSA | Tuscaloosa Academy’s offense demonstrated its quick-strike capability Thursday as Jonathan Plott threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Teesdale on the second play from scrimmage.
Plott, a senior quarterback, threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score in a 55-23 victory over Bessemer Academy in an AISA Class AAA, Region 1 game.
Tuscaloosa Academy received the opening kickoff, and Clay Thomas gained 5 yards on first down. Plott received plenty of protection from his offensive line before throwing to Teesdale over the middle.
"That’s kind of the guy that we never throw to on that play," Plott said. "I saw my tight end (Pride Snow), and he looked like he was open but I felt like there was a (cornerback) waiting on him. Out of the corner of my eye I just saw my wingback running down the field wide open. He made a great play on it. If we come out and we play the way we can, we can score really any time we want to."
Tuscaloosa Academy coach Robert Johnson said Plott was poised enough to find the fourth option. Plott wound up completing 11 of 16 passes for 173 yards, 143 in the first half.
"I was very impressed with that play," Johnson said. "That was actually his fourth read, believe it or not. He came out and he hit it, and it was a great job."
Tuscaloosa Academy’s defense stopped the Rebels on downs, and Thomas broke loose for a 37-yard gain to set up Plott’s 9-yard scoring pass to Parker Farley. Teesdale’s 36-yard gain on a reverse set up Jaevon Walton for a 1-yard touchdown run. Austin Menard kicked the extra point for a 19-0 lead with 3:31 left in the first quarter.
On a fourth-down play, Plott threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Teesdale in the second quarter. Bessemer Academy (2-6, 2-4) answered with a 9-yard touchdown run by quarterback Noah Napier. Walton scored on a 10-yard run, and the Knights led 35-7 at halftime.
Bessemer Academy’s Jeremy Lacy blocked a punt in the third quarter, and Sydney Moore picked up the football and made a return of 33 yards to the Tuscaloosa Academy 4. The Rebels overcame a penalty as Napier threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Rodriquez McKinney.
Terrell Bush’s second fumble recovery gave the Knights possession on the Bessemer Academy 19. Plott scrambled while looking for a receiver but decided to run and scored with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
Following an interception by Thomas, the Knights capped off a 44-yard drive as Plott threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Farley with 11:16 left. Bessemer Academy’s next possession ended with Bush recovering a fumble and scoring on a 22-yard return. The Rebels got their last touchdown on a 1-yard run with 1:41 left.
"There are certainly things we can improve on, but I think a lot of that is attributable to how hard Bessemer played and their game plan," Johnson said. "Whenever things got a little tough on us, our guys responded with a score, which is a big deal."
No. 3-ranked Tuscaloosa Academy (7-4, 4-) plays at Glenwood School in Smiths Station on Oct. 12.
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.