Helena falls short at McAdory to open Busby era

Published 12:26 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

MCCALLA–It was a night of firsts as the Helena High School varsity football team traveled to McAdory to meet the Yellow Jackets for the first time in school history under first-year head coach Richie Busby to kick off the 2018 high school football season on Friday, Aug. 24.

Unfortunately for Helena, the scoreboard didn’t result in a first win as the Huskies had a tough time hanging with the home team as the Yellow Jackets pulled away for a 35-13 victory.

Led by senior wide receiver Deontae Boggan’s four touchdowns, McAdory pulled away from Helena in the second half thanks to a number of plays converted on third and long.

Helena competed hard and kept it a one-score game until midway through the third quarter but mistakes in the secondary and some tough series offensively thwarted any chance of a comeback win.

“Yeah, three long touchdowns on third and 15 plus you’re talking what would be a 14-14 ballgame,” Busby said after the game. “The defense did get us one turnover down there and we missed opportunities, but look, the bottom line is these kids don’t know how to win yet and that’s why we’re here. We’ve got to get them to compete first and I think they did tonight. We did a lot of good things and capitalized on some turnovers but these things are all new to these kids. So, when you’re playing man and you lose some kids on some different routes that confused us, that’s why we practice so we come back and get better at that.”

After Helena punted on its opening possession of the game, McAdory took over and quickly drove down the field as Boggan scored on a sweep around right end to make it 6-0 Yellow Jackets.

Although Helena’s J.T. Carson stripped the Yellow Jackets of the ball and recovered the fumble on McAdory’s next offensive possession, the Huskies couldn’t turn it into points to tie the game.

A big play in the first half came with McAdory facing a third-and-22 from its own 36-yard line when quarterback Desmon Dortch Jr. found a wide open Boggan behind the Helena defense for a 64-yard touchdown to make it 13-0 Yellow Jackets late in the first quarter.

Facing a two-score deficit heading into the second quarter, Helena didn’t panic offensively.

Helena quarterback Luke Stamba kept a drive alive with his legs by scrambling and converting on a fourth-and-4 to give the Huskies a first down deep inside McAdory territory.

A few plays later, Stamba lofted a pass to the back of the end zone as wide receiver LaDarrius Rice came up with the ball for a 24-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 13-7.

On the ensuing drive for McAdory, the Yellow Jackets were bailed out on a pass interference call on third-and-13 for an automatic first down. This followed another pass interference call on the Huskies defense and a few plays later, Boggan came up with a 21-yard touchdown reception. The Yellow Jackets successfully converted a two-point conversion to take a 21-7 halftime lead.

Down two scores to open the third quarter, Helena got the break it needed as the Huskies recovered a McAdory fumble to take over at the Yellow Jacket 23-yard line.

The Huskies turned the takeaway into points as Zach Goodwin took a ball around left end and scored from 10 yards out to cut McAdory’s lead to 21-13.

Unfortunately for Helena, McAdory’s speed was too tough to handle the remainder of the game as the Yellow Jackets scored 14 unanswered points that included a 4-yard touchdown run by Joshua Williams and Boggan’s final touchdown came on a 25-yard touchdown reception to cap off the 35-13 win.

Despite the final result, Helena showed glimpses of great things including a couple of forced turnovers, sacks and pressure defensively and two offensive series that led to touchdowns. Overall, Busby was encouraged that his team is heading in the right direction.

“Our goal was to come in here and compete and stay together as a team and we did,” Busby said. You’re talking about a program that wins 10 games a year for the last 20 years straight. We’ve been playing football four years and one game now so I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Next week, Helena will face another tough challenge as Hueytown will travel to Husky Stadium on Friday, Aug. 31.