Senior tailback Robert “Bam” Henderson was lost for the season last week after suffering a knee injury at Valley Head, but Henderson’s teammates stepped up to carry the load in a 62-21 victory that improved their record to 3-0 overall (3-0 in Region 7 play).
“We know Bam was our leader, but we’ve got 16 seniors that have to step up and play,” Cedar Bluff coach Jonathan McWhorter said. “They understand they have to get better. I’m proud of our kids and our coaches.”
The night was also special to the Tigers because they honored the 50th anniversary of the school’s 1962 team at halftime. That team, coached by L.D. Bruce, went 10-0 and was selected by The Birmingham News as state champions.
Two of the seniors McWhorter was speaking of are quarterback Levi Mintz and receiver DeAngelo Hardy. The duo got the Tigers going just 32 seconds into the game on a 34-yard connection through the air. Senior Curtis Abernathy added the extra point, giving Cedar Bluff a 7-0 lead.
Mintz finished the game completing 9 of 17 passes for 243 yards and 4 touchdowns – both to Hardy, who came away with three catches for 90 yards.
Abernathy added to the Tiger lead with a 62-yard touchdown run with 2:30 to go in the first quarter. His extra point gave Cedar Bluff a 14-0 advantage.
Mintz tossed his second touchdown of the game to sophomore Devante Dixon to open the second quarter. The connection went for 51 yards, and it gave the Tigers a 21-0 lead.
Dixon got into the end zone again shortly after – this time on defense. He returned an interception 52 yards for a score, giving the Tigers a 28-0 advantage with 10:32 to go before halftime.
Mintz and Hardy hooked up for another scoring connection with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter. This one covered 44 yards and it capped an 8-play, 61-yard drive, increasing the Tiger lead to 35-0.
Cedar Bluff’s defense managed to score again as senior Terrence Scales picked off another Coosa Christian (0-3) pass and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. Abernathy’s point after made the score 42-0 with 2:07 remaining in the half.
The Conquerors finally got on the scoreboard on running back Ben Mills’ 55-yard touchdown run at the 10:06 mark of the third quarter. The extra point was no good, keeping the score at 42-6.
Mintz threw his fourth and final touchdown of the game with 9:10 left in the third. This one went to senior Alex Hairston, and it covered 75 yards to put Cedar Bluff in front 49-6.
Tiger sophomore running back DShawn Fife blasted his way for an 80-yard touchdown run at the 5:49 mark of the third quarter. The extra point was no good, but Cedar Bluff was way out in front 55-6.
Fife finished with 166 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown.
Just 22 seconds later, Mills scampered for an 84-yard touchdown, making the score 55-13.
That score didn’t last long, as Blake Terry took the ensuing kickoff 78 yards for Cedar Bluff’s final touchdown of the night. The PAT made it 62-13 Tigers.
Mills ended the night’s scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run. The ensuing 2-point conversion was good with three minutes to go in the game.
“They (Coosa Christian) played good at times, but Cedar Bluff’s a great team with a lot of seniors,” Coosa Christian coach Van Owens said. “We made too many mistakes, but we played a better second half. I’m proud of my guys for how they played in the second half.”
Cedar Bluff travels to Jacksonville Christian next Friday. Coosa Christian hosts Spring Garden.