HUNTSVILLE | Scott High Coach Chris Harris said at halftime of Friday’s game against Austin-East that his team was playing poorly across the board.
The effort improved somewhat in the second half, but not enough and not soon enough, as the Roadrunners escaped Highlander Stadium for a 24-6 win that was their first of the season.
A-E jumped out to a 16-0 halftime lead on a night when nothing seemed to go right for Scott High, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The Highlanders finished with 194 yards of offense, but struggled to put together sustainable drives. It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that Scott High picked up a first down that wasn’t by way of a penalty.
The Highlanders gambled to start the game, attempting and recovering an onside kick, with Nolan Cotton falling on the ball at A-E’s 48-yard-line.
But Scott High’s offense promptly went backward, a dark foreshadowing of the night that lay ahead, and the Roadrunners forced a punt.
Defensively, things weren’t much better. A-E scored only twice in the first half, but was deliberately slowing down the game. The Roadrunners scored on their first two possessions, then broke free on a 58-yard pass play late in the first half that ended with a fumble at Scott High’s one-yard-line. Tommy Fitzgerald recovered.
Scott High struggled to slow down Austin-East’s rushing attack in the first half, as the Roadrunners’ blockers opened gaping holes. A-E finished the game with 327 yards of offense, including 202 yards on the ground.
A-E was only 1 of 9 on third down tries, but converted three fourth downs — including one on each of its scoring drives. The backbreaker was a fourth down conversion on a Juwaan Troutman-to-Leshaud Holloway pass in the third quarter, which extended the lead to 24-0.
Scott’s defense improved significantly in the second half, turning A-E over once, forcing the ball over on downs twice, and making the Roadrunners punt twice.
But the Highlanders’ offense continued to struggle. Scott was 4 of 14 on third down and just 1 of 6 on fourth down.
During one stretch in the second and third quarters, the Highlanders turned the ball over on downs on five straight possessions.
Finally, late in the game, Scott High got on the scoreboard. After backing A-E up and coming up with big stops near the goal line, the Highlanders took over inside the 10-yard-line. That led to a nine-yard touchdown run by Auton Whaley, who led the Highlanders with 62 rushing yards and was named the First National Bank Player of the Game.
Clayton Carroll had a big game from his defensive line position, finishing with 10 tackles.
Scott High senior running back Will Russ, who was attempting to return from a knee injury suffered in the season-opener against Coalfield, left the game after just two plays when he reaggravated the injury.