Huskies come up short in senior night contest

Helena's Brett Granger (No. 9) tries to haul in Central-Tuscaloosa's Eldric Jones in an Oct. 24 matchup. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Helena’s Brett Granger (No. 9) tries to haul in Central-Tuscaloosa’s Eldric Jones in an Oct. 24 matchup. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

HELENA — The first senior night in Helena High School history did not turn out as hoped, as the Huskies lost a close contest to the Central-Tuscaloosa Falcons, 25-20.

The Huskies recognized all football players, band members, dancers and cheerleaders in the first graduating class of the new high school before squaring off in AHSAA Class 5A, Region 4 competition against the Falcons.

The Huskies took the opening kickoff and started from their own 38, driving the length of the field before Devan Walker took an 8-yard run in for a score. The Rutger Reid extra point was good, and the Huskies took a 7-0 lead with 6:54 left in the first.

The Falcons then punted, and the Huskies also punted, gaining a fresh set of downs when Central fumbled the catch. The Huskies’ drive ended when a Reid field goal attempt came up short.

Reid redeemed himself later in the quarter, booting a 37-yarder through the uprights to put the Huskies up 10-0 with 2:42 left in the first.

Central answered on the next drive, scoring on a rushing touchdown by Eldric Jones to cut the lead to 10-6 after the missed extra point.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskies fumbled on the return and the Falcons fell on the ball. On the first play from scrimmage, the Falcons scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass to go up 12-10 with a minute left in the first half after the two-point try was no good.

The Huskies regained the lead midway through the third on a Reid field goal, going up 13-12 with 7:54 left in the third.

The Falcons answered on the ensuing drive on another Jones run, going up 19-13 after the extra point was no good.

The Huskies suffered another set back on the ensuing drive, as a fumble on the first play from scrimmage found its way into Falcon hands. Central turned the recovery into points as a 17-yard pass found its way into the endzone for a score. The extra point try was good, and the Falcons led, 25-13, with 29.2 left in the third.

After the team swapped possessions to start the fourth, Helena’s offense came alive. Quarterback Riley Davis used passes to Joshua Stanbridge, Phildon Dublin and Jake Busby, along with a Walker rushing attack to guide the Huskies deep into Central territory. On fourth and five, Davis found Stanbridge open in the endzone for a score, cutting the lead to 25-20 with 4:23 left in the contest after the Reid extra point.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, it was all the points they could muster, and the Falcons held on for a 25-20 win.

“We’ve got a good bunch of kids, just a lot of in experience,” Helena head coach Watt Parker said. “I was pleased with the effort. It’s pretty obvious, physically it was not a good matchup for us, but I told our guys it doesn’t matter who we play, we’ve got to play with everything we got, and I fell our guys did that. We were a play here or a play there from winning the ball game.”

The Huskies move on to close the season by hosting Pleasant Grove Halloween night.