By Lizi Arbogast
For Central Alabama Scoreboard
With a convincing victory on Friday night, Reeltown’s football team is officially in the playoffs.
After last week’s emotional loss and the hype of homecoming, Friday’s game against one-win Beulah could’ve easily been overlooked — even more so with rival Dadeville looming.
However, the Rebels used the fuel of last week’s heartbreak and from the opening kickoff — which was returned for a touchdown — Reeltown meant business. It had an onslaught of scoring to defeat Beulah, 48-7.
“What I’m most impressed with is after the emotional game last week,” Rebel coach Matt Johnson said, “and we came up a little bit short after we feel like we laid it all out on the line, then we came back this week and to start like we did, that’s impressive to me. That’s something we harp on, and it’s satisfying as a coach to have a short memory and turn a failure into something positive.”
That’s exactly what Reeltown did as it officially clinched a playoff berth with the victory. Juicy Hughley was the leader of the prolific offense. He got it started with his 91-yard kickoff return and added two more rushing touchdowns before the night was over.
Marcus Haynes also got in on the special teams scoring with a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
“Any time you can have a non-offensive touchdown, that’s just an addition,” Johnson said. “The punt return for a touchdown, what was great there is we had two dynamic players back there. Marcus fielded the punt and the block that sprung it was Arthur Woods, so that shows a selflessness on his part and a team attitude.”
Woods has his moment in the spotlight as well when he grabbed a pass from Gabe Bryant, shook off an initial tackle and used his motor to grab a 79-yard touchdowns.
Scooter Brooks and Jeffrey Thompson added rushing scores of 5 and 67 yards, respectively.
Reeltown’s defense also matched the offensive effort and didn’t allow a touchdown until the final frame when Beulah’s Jacori Tarver scored from 29 yards out. Matt Knox led the Rebel defense with 11 tackles and a pair of sacks.
Although Johnson instructed his squad to enjoy Friday’s win, the Rebels will quickly go to the drawing board Monday because he knows there’s still a lot of improvements to be made before they take on rival Tigers.
“They’ll be one of the more physical teams that we see this year, all the way around,” Johnson said. “That’s their identity and coach (Roger) McDonald has done an exceptional job with the kids buying into that. They’re hungry and they love playing that type of football. When we go North up 49 next week, we owe them something and I hope we can return the favor. But we have to get a lot better in a lot of areas on Monday before we do that.”
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