Tide outlasts Tigers in flag Iron Bowl

Published 10:22 pm Saturday, August 13, 2011

Former Auburn University defensive back Adlai Trone heads for the end zone in a charity flag football contest between former gridiron standouts in the Iron Bowl rivalry Aug. 13 at Spain Park High School. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

HOOVER — Joe Kines, a former defensive coordinator and interim head coach at the University of Alabama, knows first hand the significance of an Iron Bowl victory.

Kines had past experience in mind when he barked out an order to Andrew Zow, a former quarterback for the Crimson Tide, with five seconds remaining in a flag football version of the gridiron rivalry, Rivals United for Recovery, Aug. 13 between former Alabama and Auburn gridiron standouts at Spain Park High School.

“Just run the five seconds off Andrew,” Kines barked. “Don’t worry about a touchdown.”

Zow listened to his coach in the flag football game as he held the ball for the final few seconds before firing a pass between the uprights from near midfield to cap a 42-41 victory by the Crimson Tide in the game, which raised money for storm victims who are still recovering from April 27 tornadoes that impacted the state of Alabama.

The two teams battled in front of a few thousand spectators scattered across the home grandstand at Jaguars Stadium.

Zow, an assistant football coach at Oak Mountain High School, fired a touchdown pass to former Alabama walk-on wide receiver Matt Miller for a touchdown with 54 seconds remaining to cut Auburn’s lead to 41-40 before Zow and Miller connected again from 10 yards out for the two-point conversion and the go-ahead score by the Crimson Tide.

An Alabama defensive back intercepted a pass in the final minute to take away the Tigers’ chance of scoring a go-ahead touchdown late in the game.

Governor Robert Bentley, who participated in the pregame coin toss, said he couldn’t think of a better way to raise money for storm victims. Bentley said the funds raised will go toward long-term recovery efforts in the state.

Gov. Robert Bentley flips the coin on the field before the Rivals United for Recovery flag football game Aug. 13 at Spain Park High School. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

“There was a lot of tragedy in this state,” Bentley said. “I think this is fantastic. (Alabama and Auburn players) all came together. It’s a great effort.”

Bentley, a Columbiana native, even offered some pregame advice to players on each side of the rivalry.

“They just need to remember they’re not 20 years old,” Bentley said.

The game was a back-and-forth battle, with the Tide and Tigers answering each score with another touchdown.

Auburn held the lead for a majority of the opening half before former Alabama quarterback Gary Hollingsworth found Antonio Langham open in the end zone for a touchdown as time expired to help the Crimson Tide carry a 20-18 lead into the break at halftime.

Auburn scored its final touchdown with just less than two minutes remaining in the game when former quarterback Brandon Cox found former offensive lineman Joe Cope open in the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown. David Irons reeled in the extra point to give the Tigers a 41-34 lead late in the game.

Zow’s touchdown pass to Miller and the ensuing two-point conversion sealed the win for the Crimson Tide.

Siran Stacy, a former defensive back at Alabama, was named the Crimson Tide’s most valuable player after making a few impressive grabs in the first half. Stacy scored one of the Tide’s three touchdowns in the opening half.

Former Auburn defensive back Adlai Trone was named the Tigers’ most valuable player after scoring two first-half touchdowns.

Fans were also treated to an autograph session with their favorite players before the game on the practice field at Spain Park. Players on each team walked side-by-side from the practice field to the stadium.