The Bearcats lost two of their best players, including a standout lineman Tevin Heath and their offensive catalyst Quinatta “Toot” Jones all within a two minute span of the first quarter in the Class 3A, Region 6 matchup.
Heath was hit low on a return on which Glencoe was called for an illegal block. He hobbled off the field with 7:05 to play in the first, grimacing and yelling in pain. Jones was ejected with about five minutes remaining in the first after being whistled for his second personal foul, following a shoving match with a Yellow Jackets defender in a game that was beyond chippy from the opening kickoff.
“Two key players going out on penalties, really hurt us,” Weaver coach Darryl Hamby said. “It’s tough; We’re a small 3A team.”
Heath, who starts on both sides of the ball, tried to walk off the field on his own power, but he couldn’t make it. A trainer and assistant coach picked up the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder and carried him to the locker room. Hamby said the junior suffered a knee injury and added it “doesn’t look good”.
Neither did Jones before he was ejected. Glencoe limited the 6-foot-1, 230-pound bruiser to minus 12 yards on three carries before being tossed.
“Oh, God it changes everything,” Hamby said. “Our whole offense is centered around Toot. Even if we’re not handing it to him, we’re going through him.”
Even with all they endured, the Bearcats (2-2, 2-2) still had a chance to get on the board first but an incomplete pass followed by a turnover turned the tide of the game for good.
With the game knotted in a scoreless tie, Weaver, after being hit with a penalty, found themselves with a First-and-19 from its own 37. However, Timothy Hawkins missed a wide-open Patrick Montgomery on a play that would’ve given the Bearcats first-down yardage.
Weaver mishandled a handoff to Jones on the next play, and Glencoe’s Daniel Warren picked up the fumble on the hop an toted it 42-yards to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 7-0 with 5:13 to play. in the first after a successful point after attempt by Houston Ramer
“That’s something that we’ve worked on since the summer,” Glencoe coach Lee Ozmint said. “We changed that. Before, we had been content to just fall on turnovers. “But with a young offense, we started working on scooping and scoring fumbles. Daniel Warren did exactly how he was supposed to.
“It totally changed the momentum. They were moving the ball down the field. After that they lost their composure a little bit.”
Glencoe, ranked No. 10 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, looked to build a three-touchdown lead late in the first half as it drove the ball down to the Weaver 13. However, Weaver defensive back Alexander Merritt picked Glencoe quarterback Rhett Norman at the 4 with 38.6 ticks left before the half.
Glencoe scored three times in the second half. Austin Brown went for two and Ray Ray Kimbril added the other them to go up 35-0.
Kimbril led Glencoe with 92 yards on just eight carries.
Without Jones, Weaver struggled offensively amassing just 119 yards of offense to Glencoe’s 289. The Bearcats’ lone score came on a 46-pass off a flea-flicker from Hawkins to Marshall Dunn with six minutes left.
Hawkins, a freshman, completed nine of 14 attempts for 89 yards.
The Bearcats were penalized 10 times for 107 yards Glencoe was called for seven infractions, resulting in a loss of 79 yards. The Bearcats coaching staff went back and forth with the officials the entire night. Things boiled over a bit with 14.3 seconds left when a Weaver assistant coach got into an argument with a member of the chain gang over a perceived cheap shot.
Time expired as Weaver didn’t call a final played while the brief spat went on. Hamby shook Ozmint’s hand at midfield following the game and the Bearcats went to the locker room once the final second ticked off the clock.
“They took a lot out of us,” Hamby said of the penalties. “But we’ve got to keep our composure, coaches included. You’re not going to get every call and sometimes you’re not going to get some of the calls.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 235-3575. He can be reached at 235-3575.