It wasn't the most elegant football game a fan could see, with fumbles determining the outcome more than offense. But the Alabama Warriors capitalized more on the visiting South Alabama Seminoles' turnovers than vice versa, and by doing so won a 16-12 victory in the Xtreme South Football League semifinal playoff game Saturday at Jimmie Trotter Stadium.
After the Montgomery-based Seminoles scored twice in a 32-second span in the fourth quarter — the latter on a 56-yard fumble recovery by Derrick Nettles, where he caught a ball that squirted straight up after a tackle — the Warriors took back the lead for good with a fumble recovery for a touchdown of their own.
Lloyd Blevins blitzed and smothered South Alabama quarterback Denarious Chillious, forcing the passer to drop the ball. Blevins scooped it up and dashed 66 yards for paydirt with 8:43 left.
The first half back was combination of strong defense and turnovers galore. Alabama got on the board first by holding the Seminoles deep in their own territory after the opening kickoff, and the ball was snapped over the head of Nettles and over the end line for a safety. The scored stayed at 2-0 through halftime, as the teams had seven turnovers combined, including four interceptions thrown by Warrior backup quarterback Justin Hairston.
Alabama took advantage of a fumbled punt return, and then a fake punt by kicker Todd Marsh, to get into the redzone for their only sustained drive of the game. Rob Taylor finished it off with a three-yard run, dragging two defenders with him, with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
South Alabama responded with the first of their two quick youchdowns, as Chillious found a wide open, streaking Fred Robinson down the sideline for an 85-yard scoring pass.
The Warriors advance to the league championship game against the Prichard Falcons, to be played May 19 at Prichard High School.