Mobile Christian’s Aiden Ransom recovers a Monroe County fumble on the game’s second play to set up the Leopards’ first touchdown in a 57-8 romp at Harrison Field Friday night. Mobile Christian forced five turnovers and converted all five into touchdowns. (John O’Dell/Call News)
Mobile Christian coach Ronnie Cottrell patrols the sideline during the Leopards’ 57-8 win over Monroe County Friday night. The 57 points are the most Mobile Christian has scored in a single game during the Cottrell era. (John O’Dell/Call News)
By JIMMY WIGFIELD
MOBILE — Acting Monroe County coach Labary Jones had seen enough film of No. 2-ranked Mobile Christian to have a robust idea of what the Tigers were getting into Friday night.
Being on the field in a 57-8 loss was an even more numbing experience.
“We knew coming in they had a great football team,” Jones said. “You could see it on film. Then we get here and they’re even better. That’s a small college team over there. They’ve got big linemen who can block and skill people who can fly.”
And a team that is aiming for one thing — a state championship.
“We’ve worked for this,” said defensive end Floyd Dawens-Boucard, who spent the night discarding Monroe County offensive linemen and running backs as so much bark off a tree. “We’re going to go far. Winning state is one of our goals. We talk about it a lot. We’ve got a chip on our shoulder. It’s not, ‘I want to make the tackle,’ it’s, ‘We want to make the tackle.’”
Boucard, a 6-3, 270-pound junior, helped the Leopards (5-0, 3-0 3A Region 1) hold the Tigers (1-3, 0-3) to minus 17 yards rushing.
Mobile Christian coach Ronnie Cottrell tried to remain conservative in his predictions, although he proclaimed: “This is the best team I’ve had since I’ve been here. … But we’re going to take them one at a time. We’ve got to stay focused week to week. So far, they’ve reported to work every game.”
It took the Leopards a grand total of 2:47 to take a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter. P.J. Brown scored three touchdowns on runs of 8, 2 and 10 yards and his downfield block erased a Monroe County defender on Jordan Woullard’s 90-yard sprint to the end zone.
Behind its smashmouth offensive line, Mobile Christian finished with 460 yards of total offense, almost perfectly balanced with 250 on the ground from nine ballcarriers to go with quarterback Damien Gatson’s 10-of-15 passing night for 210 yards.
“They create creases,” Brown said in the understatement of the night. “But we can still get a lot better to go to state.”
Center Bo Cagle, who is becoming one of the best at his position in the nation, said the offensive linemen dine together, go to class together and have learned to pummel people by getting to the point with powerful, intelligent precision.
“We’ve tried to stop the dumb stuff, swimming over people and the extracurricular stuff,” Cagle said. “We’ve been getting better on double teams. We’re becoming more of a unit. We like to see who can get the most pancakes. It is a pancake competition.”
On Friday night, the Leopards served pancakes with syrup and a cherry on top. The 57 points are the most they have scored in a single game during Cottrell’s eight years at the school and they have won the first five games by a combined 222-35, the highest-scoring first five games in the Cottrell era. They’re also 56-6 since 2000 when scoring at least 50 points.
“That’s the fifth straight week we played well early,” Cottrell said. “It’s not a deep team but it’s a very, very good football team.”
Aiden Ransom scored from 5 yards out, Aaron Rogers from 16 yards out, Gavin Weinshenker from 17 yards away and linebacker Bradley Tanner finished the rout with a 29-yard interception return late in the third quarter for a 57-8 lead before the fourth quarter was played with a running, eight-minute clock.
Mobile Christian forced five turnovers — three interceptions and two fumbles — and converted all five into touchdowns. Ransom recovered a fumble at the Tigers’ 8 on the game’s second play, Rogers’ interception at the Leopards’ 10 was followed by Woullard’s 90-yard run on the next play, there were Tanner’s two interceptions and Rico Prince’s fumble recovery at the Monroe County 46.
“At this point, we’re being a very physical football team on both sides of the ball,” Cottrell said. “Both sides are getting their weight on top of the other team and getting movement. Our offense has embraced what our defense has always done — being very physical and fundamentally sound.”
Sema’j Law led Mobile Christian with 67 yards on six carries and Weinshenker had 42 yards on seven carries.
The Tigers’ JaCorey Stallworth threw a 78-yard TD pass to Byron Hollenger in the second quarter to make it 35-8.
Jones served as Monroe County’s head coach in the absence of Shannon Felder, whose mother had an apparent stroke Thursday.
Mobile Christian honored its 1983 state championship team and late coach Rick Whittle before and during the game.