By Ronald Frazier
Glenwood coach Jason Gibson reported prior to Oct. 5 that his Glenwood team was in a must-win situation on the road in Alabaster against Kingwood Christian in Region 1 class AAA to have any kind of a chance to make the playoffs.
The Gators did just that as quarterback Bryce Valero accounted for all four of the Gators touchdowns in a 31-18 victory over the Lions.
Now the Gators return home Oct. 12 to host the region leader, Tuscaloosa Academy. The Knights are 6-1 on the year and 3-0 in the region. The Knights played Lee Scott on Oct. 5 and decimated the Warriors, 55-0 to keep them winless for the year.
With the win, the Gators have their fate in their own hands. Win or lose against Tuscaloosa, a victory over Lee Scott on Oct. 19 will get them the No. 4 seed in the first round of the playoffs. That is because they now own the tiebreaker over Kingwood Christian for the final berth.
The Gators spotted the Lions a 6-0 lead before reeling off 21 straight points to take the lead and one Glenwood never relinquished.
That 6-0 lead was compliments of the Lions leading rusher Payton Long, who broke through the line of scrimmage and went 73 yards for the first score of the game.
The Gators came right back after that score and took a 7-6 lead. Valero was the spark as on a fourth down play. He went around end for 33 yards and Garrett Hall’s PAT put Glenwood ahead.
Valero had his best balanced game of the year as he passed for 123 yards and a touchdown, ran for 49 yards and two more scores and also caught a pass from Mason Hurd for a six-yard touchdown.
Valero’s TD pass was a down the middle strike to Skylar Polumbo and increased the lead to 14-6 at halftime.
“That was a good play but we had a couple more passes that would have been TD’s had they been on target plus another TD pass that was called back because of a penalty,” said Gibson of the game. “So this week we are working on eliminating those offensive mistakes that could put us in a hole.”
“Our defense played really well and we had two interceptions including a one-handed grab by Randy Bell and 19-yard sack by Justin Jackson and a forced fumble by Allandis Boyd,” said Gibson.
The touchdowns scored by each team in the third quarter were both by trick plays. One of those was by Valero with his touchdown reception. On the seven-yard line, Glenwood called time out and called a double reverse to Hurd who threw to Valero for his first TD reception of his varsity career. That gave Valero as passing TD, running TD and throwing TD all in the same game.
Kingwood Christian countered with a trick play of its own. On a fourth down, the Lions quick snapped the ball to the punter, who threw to Anthony Ruiz for a 42-yard touchdown to make the score 21-12.
“Their No. 40 (Long who had the first TD) and No. 6 (Ruiz) were two good athletes. But we ran 82 plays on offense and I think we wore them down after the first half.” said Gibson.
Glenwood came right back after that score and ended the drive on the second play of the fourth quarter with Valero’s second rushing TD to make it 28-12. Another Lion turnover and Hall kicked a 17-yard field goal to make it 31-12. The Lions final score came in the final minute on a 56-yard run by Tyler West.
“We had our second team offense and backups on defense when they scored the final time.” pointed out Gibson.
The Gators had 180 yard rushing with Lawrence Vinson having the most total scrimmage yards with 66; Valero had a total of 180 total offensive yards for his night of work as Glenwood improved to 2-5 for the year and 1-2 in the region.