For Corner, Fultondale and Hanceville fans, the long wait is over. Their football fix has been satisfied by a three-team pre-season jamboree on Friday at Corner.
The three teams played two quarters of varsity football, interspersed between more time for JV and freshman teams. The Wildcats shut out the Yellow Jackets 14-0 in their 12 minutes of play, while the Jackets and Bulldogs played their portion to a 7-7 tie.
Against Fultondale, the Yellow Jackets troubles started on their second drive. Quarterback Blake Byrd had the Corner offense marching down the field before a fumble was scooped up by Fultondale linebacker Derrick Pollard, who returned it down to the Jackets 5-yard line. Wildcat running back Dante Stanley scampered to the end zone to give his team a 7-0 advantage.
That would be all the Wildcats would need, as Corner’s offense moved the ball at times, but failed to finish drives with points.
“We moved the ball pretty well, we just need to find a way to get in the end zone,” said head coach Zac Willis.
Fultondale had problems of their own, as they struggled with penalties and an inconsistent passing game.
“Penalties have plagued us for years,” said Fultondale head coach Keith Register. “We have to get better in that aspect.”
However, the Wildcats got explosive plays from Samuel Brown and ArDarius Stewart that set up Stanley for his second rushing touchdown of the night.
“[Stewart] is a team guy that’s a leader on and off the field,” said Register of his quarterback, who is one of the front-runners for the 2012 Mr. Football award.
In the second varsity contest, Bulldogs running back Torey Green pounded his way down the field, setting up Jonathan Miller’s 2-yard touchdown run. Hanceville took a 7-0 lead with 3:48 remaining.
Corner’s ball security problems continued, as Byrd fumbled on the Yellow Jackets’ second drive of the game. A mishandled snap would bring a drive to an end in the second quarter.
“We have a period where we work [on ball security] in practice, but I don’t believe fumbling is going to be an issue for this team,” said Byrd.
He redeemed himself with a 6-yard dash to the end zone. The touchdown capped off a 58-yard drive that knotted the game at 7-7.
Willis was pleased to escape the jamboree without any injuries.
“I’m proud of my kids, and getting out of here with no injuries is the main thing,” said Willis. “I think we did have the momentum there at the end.”
Fultondale opens the regular season next Friday at home against Montevallo, while Corner travels to Munford.